New York Islanders center Brock Nelson has been part of the organization since 2010, when he was selected 30th overall at the NHL Draft. Nelson's role has evolved with the team throughout the years, starting out as a talented prospect turned promising young offensive scorer after debuting during the 2012-13 season. Despite three consecutive 20-goal seasons, he struggled with inconsistency, leading to questions as to whether he would earn another contract with the Isles when his game matured under Barry Trotz and has continued to improve there, culminating in his first All-Star appearance and a career-high 75 points.
Now, Nelson appears primed and ready for a new role - alternate captain.
With the departure of Josh Bailey, who is trying to prolong his career in Ottawa as he plays on a PTO with the Senators, there is an "A" available to be worn on game days, and Nelson is among the strongest candidates to assume that role.
“It’d be an honor," Nelson said in the New York Post. "I know we have a few guys here who have been around a long time, who have that capability to wear it." Along with Nelson, there's lifelong Islanders Casey Cizikas and fellow fourth-liner Matt Martin, as well as defensive stalwarts Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech, who could also serve in that role.
Cal Clutterbuck currently serves as the Alternative Captain, with Anders Lee wearing the "C" for the sixth consecutive season since John Tavares left for Toronto in free agency. When Clutterbuck missed time throughout last season, with three separate stints on the injured list, Nelson wore the "A," which makes him the favorite, though head coach Lane Lambert confirmed that no decision has yet to be made.
“I know I’m not the most vocal of guys, but just try to go out there and be a big part of the team and lead by example," added Nelson. "A number of guys probably have the opportunity that could wear it.”