NY Islanders center Brock Nelson is one of the best finishers in the league

Buffalo Sabres v New York Islanders
Buffalo Sabres v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Through four games, the New York Islanders' best line hasn't been the one with Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat. It's been the one centered by Brock Nelson, and that shouldn't come as a surprise.

Nelson is the team's most reliable scorer, and it's been that way for years. The 31-year-old has led the team in goals each of the last four seasons (finished 2nd in 2018-19), and if there were one player you'd choose to have in the slot with the puck on his stick, it would be Nelson.

Per J Fresh Hockey's player card, Nelson ranks among the best in the league as a goal scorer and finisher over the last three seasons, where he has emerged as an All-Star player and two-time 30+ goal scorer. There was a period when Nelson was under-appreciated by the fanbase after he had an uneven and sometimes frustrating start to his career, but now he's viewed by them as one of the most underrated stars in the league and the rest of the league is starting to believe it too.

If you're wondering how "finishing" is measured on the graph above, it's based on the projected Wins Above Replacement (WAR) a player provides by finishing his scoring chances, measured by goals scored above expected. Per J Fresh's Player Card Explainer, it’s the most direct way they create goals and, therefore, wins for their team compared to a replacement-level player.

The consistency arrived when Barry Trotz did and has remained ever since. More than that, he transformed into an All-Star caliber player and, last season, became more of a playmaker to top 70 assists for the first time in his career.

As his line with Kyle Palmieri and Pierre Engvall continues to carry over the chemistry they created last season, Nelson should continue to see high-quality scoring chances on a regular basis, and he has shown the ability time and time again to finish them.