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Islanders 2019-20 player grade: Brock Nelson MVP level season for Isles

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 01: Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders scores to tie the score at 3-3 at 19:34 of the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at the Barclays Center on February 01, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Canucks defeated the Islanders 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 01: Brock Nelson #29 of the New York Islanders scores to tie the score at 3-3 at 19:34 of the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at the Barclays Center on February 01, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Canucks defeated the Islanders 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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For a second year, Brock Nelson has put up a big year for the New York Islanders.

With 54 points in 68 games, Brock Nelson has put up back-to-back career years for the New York Islanders. That’s the same Brock Nelson who, for years, was an ok third-line winger with a decent release.

Before Barry Trotz gave Nelson the reigns on the Isles second line, the 30th overall pick in 2010 was sitting on the Islanders third-line popping in 20-ish goals a season and generally underperformed. It was maddening.

But since Trotz took over behind the bench, Brock Nelson has not only put up big numbers but he’s become one of the Islanders most important players in all situations.

Do It All

Last year with free agency looming for the then 27-year-old center, Brock Nelson was playing for a contract. So it was fair to at least think that perhaps his uptick in production and better all-around performance could be attributed to that. But this year, with a fresh six-year $36 million deal, Brock Nelson performed well yet again.

From October through March, Nelson was one of the Islanders most consistent players.

In terms of usage (for forwards), Brock Nelson is Barry Trotz’s most trusted player. At 5on5 Brock Nelson is fourth in minutes behind Barzal, Lee, and Beauvillier. On the power play, Nelson is again fourth in total minutes. And on the penalty kill, only Casey Cizikas has more ice-time than Brock.

His 1282:44 of total ice time is second only to Mathew Barzal for forwards.

Brock is also the Islanders primary faceoff man. Nelson leads the way for centers with 1188 total faceoffs. That’s nearly double Casey Cizikas who is second on the team with 688 total faceoffs. He also has a career-high 51.8 percent faceoff win rate.

His deployment is almost evenly split with 48.4 percent of his zone starts in the offensive zone and 51.6 percent of his zone starts in the defensive zone.

His 54 points is second on the team. He leads the team in goals with 26. And is second in game-winning goals with five.

Not only is Brock Nelson leaned upon by the Islanders coaching staff, but he seems to thrive with that type of pressure and responsibility.

2019-20 Grade: A

The expectation for Brock Nelson in 2019-20 was to show he could maintain his performance from 2018-19. I, at least, wanted to see that what he showed us in his contract year wasn’t a fluke. He certainly proved that it was a fluke with his performance this year. He’s certainly, in my opinion, the Islanders MVP this season.

With Brock Nelson turning into a totally different (and better) player and putting up career numbers under Barry Trotz, I wonder who else could the veteran coach transform into a totally different (and better) player?

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