With a secondary assist on Anders Lee’s goal against the Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders Brock Nelson has exceeded his career high of 45 points in a season. How long should the pending UFA’s next deal be?
Against his hometown Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson put up a goal and an assist to give him a career-high 47 points on the season. With another ten games on the year, he’s on pace for 54 points.
It’s been an incredible turnaround for Brock Nelson. The former first-round pick was often derided for his lack of commitment, disappearing for months on end, and just bring infuriatingly inconsistent.
But this year he’s been far from his usual self. Nelson has been consistently one the New York Islanders better players this season. Something that has earned him the respect of his coach who leans on Nelson in any situation.
Brock Nelson is only months away from becoming an unrestricted free agent. It would be wise for the New York Islanders to re-sign him. How long should his next deal be?
He Showed ‘Em
In 2017-18 we probably saw the worst of Brock Nelson. Through the middle months of the NHL season (November, December, and January) Brock was absolutely terrible. In three months Brock scored nine points. Nine. He had a single point in the entire month of November. Just one.
Last season Brock Nelson somehow had a career low (outside of his rookie season) playing on a team that finished eighth in scoring. He’d finish the season with 35 points.
Not great timing as his contract was expiring in the off-season. With a change in management happening in May, the timing couldn’t be much worse for Nelson. Thankfully he was an RFA and not a UFA. As a UFA the team may have let him test free agency rather than re-sign him.
In July of 2018, Nelson signed a single year $4.25 million extension with the Islanders. It was a show-me deal from new GM Lou Lamoriello. If Brock Nelson proved he was worth a long term deal Lou would give him one next time around.
So here we are. It’s safe to say that Brock Nelson has proved he’s worth a new deal. Now Lou Lamoriello has to decide how long to give him.
Brock Nelson is going to want as long as he can get, and the Islanders are the only team that can give him and eight-year deal. That can’t be seriously entertained by the Islanders. Nelson has proven that he’s worth a new deal, but giving him a max term would be a mistake.
Just because Brock Nelson has shown that he can be an effective two-way player and contribute every night in a Barry Trotz system doesn’t mean he’s worth an eight-year investment. That’s plenty of time for the inconsistent Brock Nelson to show up again.
A four-year deal would be preferable from a New York Islanders perspective. They still give Brock Nelson four years of stability, but they also give him the chance at another payday when he hits the still productive age of 32.
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More importantly, a four-year deal gives the New York Islanders the ability to move Brock Nelson’s deal should things go south and he reverts back to that 35 point inconsistent player.
Of course, this is assuming the Isles want to re-sign him (they should). Because at the moment there haven’t been too many signs that negotiations are ongoing between Nelson and the Isles.