On the first day of Brocktober, let’s remember how Brock Nelson became a New York Islanders at the 2010 NHL Draft.
If there’s one thing that former New York Islanders GM Garth Snow loved to do, it was package two picks to get a late first-round pick. Under his tenure, he made that trade three times. The first time he pulled that move was at the 2010 draft.
After already selecting Nino Niederreiter with the fifth overall pick earlier, Garth sent Chicago the 35th overall pick and 58th overall pick for the 30th pick at the draft. Where he selected Brock Nelson.
With Brocktober opening, I wanted to take a look back at that trade.
Of the two picks the Isles sent to Chicago, only the 35th overall was their own. The 58th overall was picked up when defenseman Andy Sutton was sent to the Ottawa Senators at the 2010 trade deadline.
"I’d had a pretty good interview with the [Islanders] and knew they were kind of interested. [Director of Amateur Scouting] Trent Klatt came up to Warroad and did a little scouting trip. He had me take a little test and check-in. So, I knew there was some interest."
While Brock Nelson’s first few years in the organization were underwhelming, that changed when the Islanders hired Barry Trotz in 2018. Giving Nelson the confidence he needed (as well as the deployment his skill set demanded), Nelson transformed from a third-line winger into a good two-way second-line center and 60+ point player that the Isles thought they had drafted.
The Isles certainly took a risk moving up five spots, but it’s clear they pulled the right player. The prospects that Chicago drafted instead of Nelson never amounted to anything at the NHL level.
With the 35th pick, the Blackhawks selected Ludvig Rensfeldt. The winger only played 58 games in North America, all for OHL side Sarnia Sting. He’s now playing with Isles prospect Robin Salo with Orebro in the SHL.
At 58, the Hawks took goalie Kent Simpson. That name might sound familiar. Simpson was sent to the Islanders in the Nick Leddy trade. While part of the Blackhawks organization, Simpson played one NHL game allowing two goals-against in 20 minutes of ice-time.
This is typically the time of year when the NHL season begins and Brock Nelson takes over.
Typically, Nelson puts up a bunch of points in October and then cools off the rest of the season. Through 71 career games in October, Nelson has 54 points for 0.76 points-per-game. He doesn’t get close to that production at any other point in the NHL season.
But this season, Nelson was able to sustain that productivity throughout the year where he had a career-high 54 points in 68 games. He was on pace to hit 65 points in 2019-20.
With the 2019-20 season-ending just a few days ago, we won’t get to see Brock Nelson light the lamp in Brocktober. But maybe we can usher in DecemBrock or Brockuary when the 2020-21 season begins? And remember, he may not have been an Islander if Snow didn’t move up five spots back in 2010.