Brock Nelson capped off a career season on Wednesday night, scoring a pair of goals in the New York Islanders' 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens to secure a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. The face-shield-wearing forward finished the season with a career-best 75 points (36 goals and 39 assists), which is 16 points better than his previous high mark for a season.
2022-23 was an All-Star season for the center, and the fourth consecutive year he has led the team in goals after Anders Lee did it the previous three seasons. Nelson also was durable as ever this season, appearing in all 82 games, joining Lee, Zach Parise, Ryan Pulock, and Scott Mayfield as the only Islanders to do so.
According to NHL PR, Nelson became the 12th player in team history with at least 30 career multi-goal games, and his eight multi-goal games this season are the most since Anders Lee (9 in 2017-18). As Stefen Rosner of the Hockey News tweeted this morning, when Nelson scored, the team won, and when he scored twice in the game, the team was nearly unbeatable.
Even as Nelson's career trajectory took off, there have always been other Islanders first to grab attention or headlines. Mathew Barzal likely has the highest point ceiling of any player, but he has struggled at points to find the net in addition to being a play-marker, whereas Nelson added assists to his game this season to break the 70-point plateau for the first time in his career. In net, Ilya Sorokin has been a hockey analytics darling, and his highlight-reel saves have become routine. Those are the two most talked about Islanders, but Nelson has been the constant source of scoring in recent years.
For months, fans and pundits clamored for the Islanders to add "a scorer," and GM Lou Lamoriello did that at the trade deadline by acquiring Bo Horvat, but too often, we took for granted the All-Star quality scorer they already had on their team. That being a home-grown Islander and one that continues to improve his game and watch his production grow while in the prime of his career.
Nelson is finally getting the attention and credit that is a bit overdue.