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New York Islanders Third Line Center Free Agent Options

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 22: Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders reacts during the third period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 22, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Islanders 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 22: Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders reacts during the third period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 22, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Islanders 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 22: Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders reacts during the third period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on January 22, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Islanders 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders third line was abysmal for most of the 2017-18 NHL season. Fixing the center position might be something Lou Lamoriello might want to look at going into 2018-19.

It’s no secret that former New York Islanders first-round pick Brock Nelson didn’t have a great year in 2017-18. His 19 goals were close to his yearly average of 20, but his play wasn’t anywhere near where the Islanders needed it to be.

He started the year off well as he and Josh Ho-Sang partnered up for some good production. But once Josh Ho-Sang was sent to the AHL and fall turned into winter, Brock Nelson’s production and even participation level diminished.

We see it every year from Brock Nelson. His production through the winter months all but vanishes until spring. Sure he still his 20 goals a year and close to 45 points – except for this year with 35 points – but he’s still nowhere to be found from December to March. That’s half of the season where Brock Nelson just isn’t the same player.

With his skills, Nelson could be a 50-60 point player in the NHL. But he just can’t seem to put it together over the course of a full NHL season. Maybe playing in another market brings that out of Brock Nelson.

That’s why Nelson is likely included in a package for a starting goaltender or a big upgrade on the blue line. And why his spot could be vacant and in need of a replacement. Looking at the 2018 free agent class, there are a few options the Isles should consider.

Notes:
All stats taken from Hockey-Reference
All time data (ex: time on the PK) taken from Fox Sports.

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