Brock Nelson is set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. Although the New York Islanders might not let it get that far.
2018-2019 was an outlier year for Brock Nelson. The 28-year-old, former first-round pick had a career high in points, with 53 (25 goals, 28 assists), and had by far the best year of his career. The only issue for the New York Islanders is that it was in a contract season.
Nelson was a restricted free agent after last season. He finished up his three-year $7.5 million contract ($2.5 million AAV) with the worst year of his professional career. While everyone under Doug Weight was flourishing offensively, Nelson was lost.
He had just 35 points and didn’t hit the 20 goal mark for the first time since his 2013-2014 rookie season. Lou Lamoriello decided to give him a prove it deal with the Isles, a one-year $4.25 million contract.
Nelson proved himself and then some on this deal. He had a career-high in points as I mentioned but he also became reliable in the defensive zone. Brock Nelson flourished under new head coach, Barry Trotz.
Now the Islanders have to make a decision whether they want to give him a long-term deal or not but it appears that Lamoriello has already made a decision.
According to Elliotte Freidman, the Islanders are “really grinding” to get something done with Brock Nelson. Per Friedman’s 31 thoughts:
Information about the Islanders is difficult to come by, but one rumbling is the club is really grinding away with unrestricted free agent centre Brock Nelson, trying to get something done.
While nothing is written in stone, it makes sense that the Islanders are trying to lock up Nelson. He’s Trotz and Lamoriello’s kind of player. He is good in his own zone and he’s a good enough shooter where you know you’re getting roughly 25 goals.
If 50 points is the new norm for Nelson, which it certainly looks like he’ll be able to sustain that pace, then a new contract to be the second line center seems more than fair.
A new contract that is either five or six years in length with an AAV between $5 million-$5.5 million seems to make a lot of sense for both sides. That’s fine compensation for Nelson, while also being good value to the Islanders.
Yes, an addition is still needed for the top-six, even if they add Nelson to the long-term plans but letting him walk would create two holes in the top-six, something that’s a lot harder for the Islanders to fill.
I’d be surprised if anything happens before the end of June, but it’s no surprise that the Islanders are already trying to get something going with Nelson.