I know the New York Islanders are in the middle of an eight-game point streak so focusing on the negatives may not be the time. But even though things are going well at the team level, they aren’t going as swimmingly for one individual, and that’s Brock Nelson.
Nelson has six points so far in 15 games this year. That already causes some concern. It puts him on pace for 33 points over a full 82 game season. Brock has been one of the Islanders most productive players since Barry Trotz took over having him dip isn’t ideal.
Had 19-20 gone a full 82 games, Nelson would have certainly seen his production hit 60+ points. Most of that production came at 5on5. Of Nelson’s 26 goals and 28 assists in 19-20, 22 goals and 25 helpers came at even strength. That’s 87% of his production for the season at 5on5.
Through 15 games this year Nelson has three assists at even strength. That’s it.
New York Islanders need Brock Nelson to score at 5on5
Only 50% of Brock Nelson’s production has come at 5on5. Most troubling of all is that not one of his three goals this year has come at even strength. Over the course of his eight-year NHL career, Nelson has 153 goals, 122 of those have come at 5on5 (79.7%). Not scoring at 5on5 isn’t something we’re used to seeing from Brock Nelson.
So while it’s great for Nelson – and the Islanders – that he’s has found his scoring touch on the man advantage, scoring at 5on5 is certainly something the Isles are going to need, as soon as possible.
It’s not like he isn’t getting chances. According to NaturalStatTrick Brock’s individual xGF is at 2.35 on the season. So he’s perhaps a bit “unlucky” on the year. Something that his 0.969 PDO rating backs up.
Again, the Islanders are winning. Perhaps this a fortunate time for Brock Nelson to be cold at 5on5. And perhaps this fits into the larger narrative that he just doesn’t score many goals in February.
Over his career, February is a bad month for Nelson and 5on5 goals with 16 in 92 games.
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Eventually (sooner rather than later) the Islanders are going to need him to produce at even strength. And it will undoubtedly come. Brock will find the net at 5on5 at some point this year. When he does, the Isles will certainly be better with it.
So perhaps this negative is a bit of a positive? The Islanders are still on an eight-game point streak and aren’t getting goal support (at 5on5) from one of their typically most productive players.