Nelson deserves a shot on Isles’ top line

461721873_slide

Christian Arnold, Islanders Point Blank:

Going into the 2014-15 season, the Islanders are once again in a position to have to find someone to play the wing on the top line.

It seems that the predicament of having to find a player to fill that role has become a new tradition with the team. The Islanders have options going into training camp, but team management seems likely to give breakout rookie Brock Nelson a shot at the job.

And the 22-year-old deserves the opportunity.

Nelson had a very good 2013-14 season. The former first-round draft pick made the team out of training camp over Ryan Strome, which some fans did not agree with. However, Nelson proved the doubters wrong by recording 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) in 72 games.

The rookie even earned time on the top line playing on the wing after Thomas Vanek was injured shortly after arriving on Long Island. Nelson re-emerged on the Isles’ top line as a center after John Tavares’ season ended early due to an injury suffered during the Olympics.

The Minnesota native preformed admirable during those stints on the top line and his teammates took notice. Tavares and Kyle Okposo both praised him during the team’s breakup day in April. Okposo even went as far to say that Nelson reminded him of Patrice Bergeron.

Having already played, and performed well, on the Islanders’ top line should be all that Jack Capuano needs to at least start Nelson there going into camp. His 2013-14 stats and the praise from his teammates only bolster his case.

Nelson has proven he is a smart hockey player, who uses his size to his advantage. He knows how to make plays happen and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Nelson’s goal production wouldn’t benefit from playing with Tavares.


459774099_3065722


He could easily be a 20-plus-goal scorer next season and see an increase in his point production.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Nelson definitely has the makings of a centerman, but luckily he does not have a preference of playing center or wing.

“That’s been a popular question, but I feel pretty confident and comfortable at both positions,” Nelson told NHL.com earlier this month. “I think the only thing you think a little differently is maybe [at] center you’re a little more responsible defensively, but I think that’s something that I’ve tried to incorporate into my game no matter where I’m at.”

The additional advantage to placing Nelson on the top line is that it could end the yearly tradition of having to find a new winger for Tavares. If Nelson, Tavares and Okposo form a strong bond it would create stability on that line, rather than continuing the endless shuffling that has seemed to take place over the last few years.

Nelson has earned the opportunity to be on the top line and he is poised for another strong season with the Islanders.




98 comments
Brian Serviss
Brian Serviss

1) Everyone needs to move on from Moulson. Moulson was good for the Islanders BECAUSE OF TAVARES. I honestly don't believe he's any good as a hockey player. He was just good when playing with one of the best players in the NHL (hence why he got benched in Buffalo when he got traded there)


2) The defense is not horrific and a "glaring need" at all. Can they improve in the area? Sure. Is it drastically important to make the playoffs this year? Absolutely not They were 16th (not great but average) in shots let up in the league last year and the only reason they were ranked so low was because off horrendous goaltending last season. So expect those numbers to improve even if they don't make a trade for Leddy or Boychuk. 


3) I know these pessimistic fans like to call the fans that are optimistic "kool-aid drinkers" (which doesn't even make any sense in the first place). But no, we aren't kool-aid drinkers, the pessimists just like to be negative for the sake of being negative because you have nothing better to do. Those fans usually bring nothing insightful to the conversation and usually just repeat the same phrase over and over "how many playoff series wins?" We get it. The Islanders haven't won a playoff series since '93. 


So since they haven't won one since '93 that means every team they put together is automatically going to fail? Great logic. Just don't watch the games and stop considering yourself a "fan" if you just root for the team to fail 

rmbbanned
rmbbanned

I'd like to thank dkdk, tag1(lower case), shamwow, camb33, and orange plus a few others for their invaluable contributions to this discussion.

Clearly their role as passionate knowledgable hockey fans is to smite the owner whenever possible, and to ignore the players on the ice.



Please move along to "Wang wants lawsuit move to Nassau" for their insightful comments about the character of the majority owner- a man they have never met.

nyicdneh
nyicdneh

AS AN ASIDE, RUMOURS HAVE THE NHL IS GOING TO BE EXPANDING AND ADDING 4 MORE TEAMS: TORONTO, QUEBEC CITY, SEATTLE AND LAS VEGAS.  REPORTED 1.4 B IN EXPANSION REVENUE COMING TO THE NHL.  SPLIT AMONGST THE 30 TEAMS EACH STANDS TO MAKE UP TO ALMOST 47M IF THIS HAPPENS.  ANY COINCIDENCE THE ISLES SALE CLOSES IN 2 YEARS!

LetsGoIsles
LetsGoIsles

Get over Matt Moulson already...he was a nice player, but that's it.

Is he a 1st line winger on a good team - no.

Is he a hall of famer - no.

Would the Isles have made the playoffs last year with Moulson on the team all year - no.

I liked MM too, but move on.


Reminds me of when the Isles traded 40 year old Dwayne Roloson a few years ago...people were screaming about it...Where's Rolo now? 

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell

Snow traded away Moulson because Wang would not pay the 5 Mil we all knew he was going to get as a UFA. So he trades him for Vanek. A guy that the whole league knows is going to wild as soon as he hits the open market. Snow knew it also. He just needed to make it appear that he was working to make the team better. ALL SMOKE AND MIRRORS FOLKS!

puckdad99
puckdad99

I love Brock, but I honestly don't think he'd make the top line on too many NHL teams. Maybe none. But you gotta go with what you got, and I agree to give him his chance. Lee deserves a chance too. 


But what the Isles don't got is solid D, and we're overstaffed with forwards. I sure hope we can strike a deal to get at least one, maybe two, solid D-men, preferably older guys 34+, who won't command a high price but who bring experience and leadership to the blue line. Not much left in free agency.

Harry
Harry

Personally I'd like to see Strome in that slot. Nelson's 2-way ability is too valuable to waste

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

@nyicdneh the point is to add 4 new teams, not add 3 and relocate one. so yes, its just a coincidence. 

Logan Monstuart
Logan Monstuart

@LetsGoIsles What people were screaming about was yet another lousy Garth Snow trade. Roloson was in demand, and Snow should have gotten a lot more than a borderline NHL player who has since slipped under the border.

rmbbanned
rmbbanned

So instead Snow spend $8 million on Grabo and Kuli. Spend more money, but just not on MM. So how does that make Wang cheap?

MM was a one dimensional player who did a nice job here. But there is better, younger talent with greater upside stepping into take his place. Brock Nelson or Ryan Strome are younger, better, cheaper and have way more upside.

elephant
elephant

@puckdad99 Good post.  

I like Brock, but would rather see Lee get the first crack at it.  Although, neither is definite 1st line material.

I just hope that if the 1st line isn't working, Cappy doesn't want till March to change things up...

doc942
doc942

@puckdad99 Yes... bring in as many over 34 year old D-men as we can... that oughta help.

rmbbanned
rmbbanned

Explain why Boston would be motivated to make that trade. Before we discuss value, what is the upside for the Bruins..

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

@Harry think stromes upside is greater than brocks as a centerman..not a knock on brock though 

rmbbanned
rmbbanned

Actually no. Just somebody who would rather discuss hockey, then read the same comments over and over and over again about the guy who writes the checks.

You have a Mets handle.. I am certain if the Mets won the World Series next year, you wouldn't care how the Wilpons made their money. Just like if the Rangers had beaten the Kings- no Rangers fan would care about Dolan.

I look forward to your keen denial of that paragraph.

If I was Wang, you think I would waste my time here?

I got a fresh $500 million to play with this summer.

nyicdneh
nyicdneh

May have misunderstood. Point I'm trying to make is Wang wants a cut of that expansion $ before he exits the door.

LetsGoIsles
LetsGoIsles

@Logan Monstuart @LetsGoIsles 

What exactly should you get in return for a 40 year old goaltender  on a non-playoff team?  How much is "a lot" more?  When was the last time a team traded a 40 year old and got a boat load in return?  How come NJ couldn't trade Brodeur is past season AND no one wants him now. Brodeur was obviously better than Roloson.  The market for 40 year old goalies isn't great.

The Isles got a 1st rounder - I'll admit he was a bust 1st rounder - but a 1st rounder non the less.  Rolo was going to leave, plus he was 40, plus the team was lousy. 

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell

Yes and he played great in net for the isles. That's right I said GREAT. I'll never forget telling people that season that goaltending was certainly not the problem. But we traded him because resigning him would have cost money.

Macacawitz
Macacawitz

@rmbbanned Wang knew he was dumping the team and he'd get the money back in the sale price.  Wang is a sociopathic weasel whose does absolutely nothing if the result doesn't wind up in his bank account. 

puckdad99
puckdad99

@slapshot18_rs @puckdad99 

 << try 25-31 >>


Oh yeah, they're going to come cheap - a first pair defenseman 25 - 31. We have an army of defensemen coming up over the next few years. Some of them will make it, some won't. We need to just fill a hole for 2 - 3 years with a guy who's got veteran leadership and experience, who will be a lot cheaper than a 25 - 31 guy.

puckdad99
puckdad99

@doc942 @puckdad99 

I assume you're aware of the large number of D prospects we have moving up over the next 3 three years? Or maybe you're not aware of that.

Logan Monstuart
Logan Monstuart

@rmbbanned The upside for the Bruins? Payroll. They have to cut. They get a premiere prospect cheap. Besides, they're still laughing over the Rick Middleton trade.

army72
army72

@slapshot18_rs @Harry  Brock at this point is more of a complete player than Strome. I think this year will be a development year for Strome. I think  Strome will eventually be a better player than Brock but, he's not there yet.

rmbbanned
rmbbanned

@slapshot18_rs @Harry I would like to see Strome play center. While I don't think he will start the season in the middle, I think he is first "up" should a center man go down with an injury. Ultimately, I believe Strome finds the middle next season. 

Don22
Don22

@slapshot18_rs @Harry I agree.  And not only that, Brock seems more able to slide between both spots if needed.  Strome might be a guy that is just more comfortable when he is left alone.

mets8669
mets8669

The Wilpons do not bother me as they have spent big money on the team in the past. They were part of a ponzi scheme which crushed them financially worse than they led on. As they make their money back they will spend again as I feel this off season will be the first in a while where they actually feel comfortable spending again. Wang however could care less about hockey. He bought the team as a hobby to play with . I fully believe that when Wang bought the team he didn't fully understand the investment it was going to be . When he did he sold . That is why I don't like wang.

Logan Monstuart
Logan Monstuart

@LetsGoIsles @Logan Monstuart Yes, and Justin Papineau once scored five goals in a minor league game -- so Milbury traded Chris Osgood for him. Another lousy Isles trade.

As for "What exactly should you get in return for a 40 year old goaltender" ... Lightning had a pretty good team that year, could have done some damage in the playoffs. Needed only a goaltender, and Roloson was playing really well. If a team believes it's one player away from contending for the Cup, they overpay. Every team does, and would. Snow didn't even get an NHL player out of the deal.

rmbbanned
rmbbanned

@mike: That his cost was more then the Isles were willing to pay, or more then his value to the Isles might be correct. The same case could be made for Moulson.

He wanted $5 million a year, and the Isles felt he wasn't worth that much. Just because a person feels they are worth "X" dollars, doesn't mean they are worth it.

I think Mr Vanek got an education in how the value of a player can change. I am certain Snow got an education.

But at least MM is getting paid big money to play and live in that bright center of the Universe known as Buffalo N.Y.

rmbbanned
rmbbanned

@Mac- I can see how not signing Moulson would draw you to conclude Wang is a "sociopathic weasel ". The two are definately related( sarcasm, my gift to the world).

Of course resigning Moulson would cost about $5 million. So signing Grabo and Kuli for $8 million takes an extra $3 million out of his account. If he was selling the team, might as well jack up fixed payroll costs to help push the sale along.

Mac- your a tad bit challenged with your basic Math skills. Better off just writing you really like MM, and your sad he wasn't resigned. Your current path only informs everybody your poor at math, and don't understand what the word "sociopath" means..

Brian Serviss
Brian Serviss

@puckdad99 @slapshot18_rs there are no first pair defensemen out there on the trading block. Get that through your head. They aren't going to magically appear either because Islander fans have this delusion that the defense is horrific. And yes you are right, Brock wouldn't be a first line guy on most teams. 


That's because most teams don't have a John Tavares that can up his level  

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

@Logan Monstuart you do realize they make practically the exact same amount of money, right? theyd save all of 25k with that move. 

rmbbanned
rmbbanned

@slap...

Logan, as written there is no cost savings to the Bruins. Plus your trading a very strong defender for a very strong forward. Defenders are much more difficult to come by in the draft, impossible in free agency. If I was the Snow, I would drive Strome up there personally to make that trade.

That would be a great trade for the Isles, but the money angle isn't there. The Bruins will have to make a deal if somebody doesn't get dinged in camp. But their not at that point yet. I would expect a forward to get moved, not a defender. GM's hate moving real NHL blue line talent.

rmbbanned
rmbbanned

@doc: using big words improperly is very funny to me. there is a lot of easy pickings around here. It is just nice to have a few people paying attention.

Let see who comes out to post on " where will the $10 million dollar lawsuit be heard" thread.

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

@rmbbanned there are certain handles that will only comment on this entire blog if its about wang/snow and disappear when anything hockey related is talked about.  i find those people the funniest. 

rmbbanned
rmbbanned

@logan: capgeek.com.. Go check it out for salary info, cap info, contract info- no move, no trade, UFA and RFA stuff.

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

@Logan Monstuart hes a RFA after this season, strome is RFA after two seasons...pretty similar situations.  b's have hamilton as a fixture for years to come, they will not let him go, same with krug.  boychuck would be the most realsitic option out of boston, and that would help solve their cap troubles.  that would be a big upgrade for us as well...he played shut down minutes with chara a lot late in tight games last year. 

rmbbanned
rmbbanned

@slap.. Yep. The success of others that doesn't come at their own personal expense causes them pain. Astonishing mind set... Enjoy your day.

Logan Monstuart
Logan Monstuart

@slapshot18_rs @Logan Monstuart If there's no savings, then there's no trade. And I don't know how highly Hamilton is rated by hockey aficionados. First tier? Second? But  there's got to be someone out there we can get. Question is, is Garth even trying? I'd guess not.

slapshot18_rs
slapshot18_rs

@Logan Monstuart not so sure he needs to.  if the isles went into the season as they are now, its not a bad thing...the cap troubled teams are the ones that should be desperate in this situation.  a smart garth snow would make himself available for trade talks, but not necessarily starting the negotiations.  one of those cap trouble teams will unload a worthy veteran and we have the pieces to get one of em so we'll see.  if the isles could add a boychuck to their blue line without giving up too much, we'd be a significantly better team heading into the season.