2017-18 Stats: 19G, 16A, 35P
Cap Hit: N/A (RFA)
Brock Nelson might not have to play center this season. And that’s a great thing. Brock Nelson isn’t a center. He shouldn’t play center. Brock Nelson should be a winger.
I don’t dislike Brock Nelson as a player. I dislike him as a center. His tendencies to ghost in and out of games are infuriating, but their impacts can be minimized when put out on the wing. When playing down the middle they are clear for all to see, and for opposing teams to exploit.
It’s not that Nelson will be a totally different player on the wing than when he was at center. But playing the wing will suit his style of play much better.
With Filpulla and Jan Kovar now on the team, Nelson can be moved to the wing where he won’t be forced to play the same type of defensive game.
He also won’t be relied upon to carry the offensive burden of the line. Rather he’ll be relied upon to finish. And that’s Nelson’s main quality; his shot. Nelson has an incredible wrist shot that he needs to use more frequently. Playing on the wing he’ll be able to do that.
Assuming injuries won’t be a problem for the Islanders, Brock Nelson won’t have to play center once this season.
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The New York Islanders have some good depth down the middle. The gulf in class between Barzal at the top and the other names on the list is clear. But for the first time in a while, the Islanders have four natural centers to play up and down the lineup.