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Editorials

New York Islanders Restricted Free Agent Contract Grades

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 31: Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders reacts to the loss to the New Jersey Devils on March 31, 2018 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Islanders 4-3. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 31: Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders reacts to the loss to the New Jersey Devils on March 31, 2018 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.The New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Islanders 4-3. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 28: Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders skates against the Washington Capitals at the Barclays Center on September 28, 2015 in Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Capitals defeated the Islanders 3-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Brock Nelson | Forward

Contract: 1 Year | $4.25 million
Grade: A-

Brock Nelson had a down year in 2017-18. For the first time in four years, he scored fewer than 20 goals – he scored 19 – and failed to hit above 40 points – he had 35 points. And somehow he still he got an almost $2 million raise. But this is the NHL, and pay cuts rarely happen.

Even though Brock didn’t perform well, he still gets a raise. We all knew he’d get a raise. His $4.25 million deal sounds like a lot, but in today’s market, it’s not terrible. In terms of the comparable, he’s just above Vladislav Namestnikov’s $4 million AAV that he signed on July 1.

Although to be fair, Namestnikov broke the 40 point plateau once, Brock did it three times.

The key to Brock Nelson’s deal was going to be the term. And the Islanders knocked that out of the ball-park.

With a single year deal that opens Brock to free agency once it’s complete, and it puts all of the pressure to perform on a consistent basis squarely on Brock’s shoulders. If he wants a big money deal, he’s going to have to prove it 82 times this seasons.

Maybe that’s the exact type of motivation that Brock Nelson needs. Maybe knowing that as an RFA the team would ultimately still give him a deal made things too easy for Brock.

Either way, for the Islanders it insulates them from as much risk as possible while giving Nelson the incentive he needs to perform up to their standards. Hopefully.

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