Last week, we made the case for Brock Nelson to be an All-Star this season. Tonight, it happened as the 31-year-old center was announced as the New York Islanders representative by the NHL Hockey Operations Department on Thursday night.
The selection is the culmination of steady growth as a player for Nelson, who started to achieve his potential in 2018-19 under Barry Trotz and has continued to get better with each year, adding elements to his game while in the middle of his prime years.
A year ago, as the Isles struggled to score while battling COVID and a hellish schedule, Nelson scored a career-best 37 goals in 72 games. His 59 points were tied with Mathew Barzal for the team lead. This year, Nelson proved that was no fluke, again leading the team in goals with 15 through 39 games.
"Nelson’s game has just blossomed, especially in the last few years." "But I mean, he’s always had this skill level and his hockey IQ, and it’s extremely natural for him. You can see how fluid he is out there, whether he’s skating or shooting the puck. Just so solid in all three zones and defensively."- Anders Lee in NYI Hockey Now
He has been the team's points leader for most of the year but was overtaken by Barzal following a goal and two-assist performance versus the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. Nelson is already just five assists away from matching his career-high (28). The added assists don't mean he isn't shooting more, as his shots-per-game have stayed consistent. “I’d probably say the opposite — I’m trying to shoot more,” Nelson said. “Sometimes you’re able to generate off the shot, and it opens things up. Just trying to read, and (playing) free is the biggest thing, and not (thinking) too much.
Selected in the first round (30th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, In 715 NHL regular season games, all with the Islanders. Nelson, a native of Warroad, MN has scored 225 goals and 205 assists.
For whoever doesn’t get picked tonight, the NHL will open voting for fans to select 12 players(two skaters and one goalie from each division) to complete the 44-man roster for the All-Star Skills and All-Star Game. If you want to see Barzal or Ilya Sorokin in Sunrise, FL, start voting.