USATSI_7870387_110579513_lowres

Brock Nelson could take on top-line role

The New York Islanders have a spot open in the top line after Thomas Vanek declined a long-term contract with the team, and that spot could be Brock Nelson’s for the taking (NHL, August 1).

Nelson, a 22-year-old forward, played 72 games for the Islanders last season, ending his rookie year with 14 goals and 12 assists.

“It’s a long ways away yet, but time goes fast and you just gotta work hard,” Nelson said. “If I’m given that opportunity, [then I need] to be ready and take advantage of it. [I have to] be as ready and prepared and be ready to play at a high level because they’re great players and they make a lot of plays offensively. If I end up there, it definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing. But I’ve got to be ready and there’s a lot of guys that could fill in that spot.”

Islanders coach Jack Capuano won’t decide who will fill that vacancy in the top line until after training camp, but Nelson’s size is a definite positive.

“It’s always tough for me to take a 6-foot-3 guy like Brock Nelson out of the middle,” Capuano said. “He really established himself as one of the top young centermen in the League for me. He’s so smart, he’s got great intelligence of the game. But if we have to do that and try him on the wing on Johnny’s line to see how that goes, we’re open to do that as well.

Of course, for a rookie like Nelson, who was the No. 30 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, he’s just looking to be in the lineup.

“That’s been a popular question, but I feel pretty confident and comfortable at both positions,” Nelson said. “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.”




157 comments
David Di Gesu
David Di Gesu

In the last 15 yrs I would say we battled with the Maple leafs and Penguins more so then the Rags.

moonbeam
moonbeam

nelson can play either role imo, and at this point a winger role on jt's line might be very good for him.  imo he could handle it.  i'd still like to see jt get a linemate at the peak of his career though, instead of a young player who still needs to learn and develop, as good of a hockey player as he might become.

REDSpointofview
REDSpointofview

I noticed a little side bar yesterday that included putting together your all-time team.  I was also quite disappointed in the results.  I can understand picking your favorite players but,,, if you are going to pick an all-time team, you have got to pick the best.  I am going to do it by line as they played together regularly and the results as a trio speak for them selves...

The Punch Line won two consecutive Stanley Cups and in the 1944-45 season produced the top three scorers in the league.  That was a 50 game season and Elmer Lach produced 80 points dishing off to the Rocket, Maurice Richard, who was the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games.  Hector 'Toe' Blake was the left wing and captain of the team...

That second line must compliment the first and score.  The Triple Crown Line of Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor and Charlie Simmer certainly could score.  In the 1979-80 season they produced 328 points (146 g 186 a) only to out do themselves a year later with 352 points ( 161 g 191 a).  This dynamic line failed to win a cup but never failed to excite the crowd.

You've got to have that checking line and there really was none better that the Production Line of Sid Abel, Ted Lindsey and the incomparable Gordie Howe.  Oh they could could check, and even fight, but they could also score.  In 1950 they duplicated the feat of the Punch Line and finished 1-2-3 in scoring.  This has never been accomplished since.  Oh,,, and by the way,,, when Howe retired in 1971 he held virtually every scoring record in the NHL...

As an Islander fan you know who I have to select for that fourth line.  They were called The LILCO LIne or the Trio Grande and they won 19 consecutive playoff series together, a feat that will most likely never, ever be broken in the salary cap era of team sports.  That run encompassed four straight Stanley Cups.  Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies and the next guy to go 50 goals in 50 games, Mike Bossy completed a balanced line of play maker, true power forward, and a pure goal scorer... 

I get one extra forward on this roster.  It's a toss up because I want a pure goal scorer just for the skills competition of the shoot out.  My choice comes down to Brett Hull or Guy LaFleur.  I think I'll take Hull.

Defense???  You have got to play defense in this league to win.  And I am starting my defense pairings with that kid from Boston, Bobby Orr.  Orr won a Calder Trophy, eight straight Norris Trophies and two Conn Smyth trophies on his way to two Stanley Cups.  He gets paired with Larry Robinson, the NHL all time leader in that meaningless stat of +/-, at +730 with his name on that cup six times.  One Calder Trophy, five Norris Trophies and 1579 points, Ray Bourque is paired with our favorite captain, Denis Potvin in that second pair.  Potvin won three Norris Trophies and produced five 80+ point seasons while possessing a lethal hip check.  I think I'll pick Nicklas Lidstrom on my back pair and put him with one of these two guys,,, Chris Chelios or Scott Stevens.  They were both nasty, mean might actually be a better term and they both could play defense.  Either way, both are going to make my team as I can carry two extra defensemen.  That last spot is going to Doug Harvey.  I never saw him play, just read the reviews and the biggest compliment paid him is the same one paid to Orr,,, he changed the game...

In goal it's simple,,, Patrick Roy and perhaps Martin Brodeur as his back up.  Why???  Because they were simply better than everyone else at what they did.  So,,, that's my team,,, and I think it's a pretty good one at that...

dinbigd
dinbigd

Good stuff on Isles in the 30 in 30 on NHL.com. Still think their D will be better than people think. I base that strictly on the improvement in goaltending. The tandem of Poulin & Nilsson were an absolute joke last season.

dimaio34
dimaio34

Hey where does churchman fit this year. Seems like he's not on many lists

dimaio34
dimaio34

Put together my all time team. Any player any year from nhl. Give me your thoughts

Wendel Clark. Mark messier. Pat verbeek

John tonelli. Darryl sittler. Steve larmer

Steve Thomas. Doug gilmour. Claude lemieux

Mike McPhee. Bobby bassen. Stu grimson

Denis potvin. Mark Howe

Darius kasparitias. Rich pilon

Garth butcher. Jeff Norton

Ron hextall

Kelly hrudey

I base my picks of what I like in players. Not the greatest players. Just the right ones. Miracle on ice really inspired me as a hockey fan. Long live herbie. What a great hockey guy

jepliberty
jepliberty

@David Di Gesu 

Also in the 77/78 season I believe it may have been Jerry Butler who crashed Bossy from behind and pushed him and hurt Bossy's back, perhaps that helped making his back a problem later in his career.

jepliberty
jepliberty

@REDSpointofview 

Red, here is another stat that hardly gets mentioned, you cite the 19 playoff series wins, but also in the finals the Islanders were 16 and 3, imagine that? That will probably never get broken either, 1st round final they beat the Flyers 4 games to 2, the 2nd round they beat the North Stars, 4 games to 1, 3rd round it was 4 games to zip, and 4th round it was 4 games to zip again, against the mighty Oiler team, and that was very impressive also. I know many know of this but it hardly ever is seen here, or anywhere else.

dimaio34
dimaio34

Yeah that was a rough go in net last year. Not that they are bad goalies. Just had no experience and I would venture to say that goalie coach is lacking as well. Will be way better this year got a feeling our back up is going to shine big time

dimaio34
dimaio34

That goal vs Edmonton is the best goal I have ever seen in my life!!!!!

REDSpointofview
REDSpointofview

@Vicp73 @REDSpointofview

While Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri were a dynamic duo, kind of like the Batman and Robin, it’s difficult to consider the entire line as one of the best ever considering tough guy Dave Semenko was usually riding shotgun on that stagecoach.  

bammer26
bammer26

@Vicp73- Agreed on Corson Vic. The pounding he got form Eric Cairns was epic in the 02 playoffs vs. the Leafs. I was there, one of many rafter shaking moments in the Coli..

dimaio34
dimaio34

Yeah loved gainey. Went with McPhee just do to skating and was more physical. I just loved his play. Thought he was a solid player. Savaged was great to. Wanted a team that was gritty and gilmour fit the bill. This took me almost 5 years to do. There are so many finess guys to pick but that's easy to do. Wanted a all round team that can score hit and fight. I grew up on rambunctious hockey in the 70

And 80 and it should have stayed that way. You should always have rage against your opponent

bammer26
bammer26

@orange2327 - Cujo was outstanding during the Stars series some years back. How about Paul Coffey with those end to end rushes in about three strides? Denis Savard is one of my old time favorites, you got some intell Vic. Al's slap shot from the point was EPIC...


How about big Tim Kerr? Pavel Bure? Mike Bossy? Eric Lindros? Scott Stevens? Tony Esposito? Man, we can go on...


Good stuff bro..



bammer26
bammer26

@orange2327 - Great lateral movement and overall skill...could stop on the dime.

Vicp73
Vicp73

@bammer26 @Vicp73 One of my favorite fights of all time, Boy did i hate that Leafs team.That game 6 was Epic! If Osgood doesn't choke in game 7 we could have had a nice run that year

bammer26
bammer26

@dimaio34 - Two Habs that I really liked were the "road runner" and Pierre Mondou. Steve Shutt and #10 weren't too bad either...

dimaio34
dimaio34

Yeah I always like to see who you guys would choose. Lots of fun.

bammer26
bammer26

@Vicp73 - The lack of Peca was huge. If Tucker was on fire, I would NOT p i s s s on him...

dimaio34
dimaio34

Oh man shutt was nuts. Never forget the one strand of tape and he would just fire the puck. Or Middleton. No tape. And he would just dangle. I think they called him nifty? Correct?

bammer26
bammer26

@orange2327 - Anton and Marion. Staying with the same Quebec line up, how about Michel Goulet?

bammer26
bammer26

@orange2327  I would take #16 from the B's back in the days on my team no problem. And #24 as well, not much offense, but nads of steel..

dimaio34
dimaio34

Yeah tried to pick a team with no islanders. Couldn't do it. Love the team to much

Vicp73
Vicp73

@bammer26 @Vicp73 Tucker, Domi, Corson the three guys in hockey i despise more then anything. I will never forget that Tucker cheap shot on Peca!!

Logan Monstuart
Logan Monstuart

@dimaio34 Read Orr's biography. He was the one who started w the one strand of tape and he says the only reason he had any was because he thought the NHL required it, which it didn't. Then he went without.


Orr used to go sockless, too.

Vicp73
Vicp73

@dimaio34 Gilbert Perreault boys, now picture him on the Habs

Logan Monstuart
Logan Monstuart

@rmdeparts How do you mean villains? Hunter-type? Or Crosby?

Mets had Chili Davis, Andy van Slyke, Chipper Jones to deal with. Other than Crosby, no real Islander-killer comes to mind.

bammer26
bammer26

@orange2327 - Steve WEBB...! Steve WEBB...! Steve WEBB...!  He tattooed Ducker up against the boards, one of the greater hits I have ever witnessed. As much noise that was in the Coli, you could still here the THUMP up against the boards..

bammer26
bammer26

@Vicp73- Hahaha, Welcome to the board Vic...! How the hell are ya? The French Connection line was great...

Vicp73
Vicp73

@bammer26 @Vicp73 I'm good Ej, love old time hockey talk. how about the  Mike Gartner Bobby Carpenter Line of the 80's

bammer26
bammer26

@orange2327 - Yup, in the hallway leading to,the locker room. LA-vi actually had a huge smile on his puss...

dimaio34
dimaio34

How about Denis maruk. Danny gare Mel bridgeman. Bill derlago. Ron flockhart

dimaio34
dimaio34

Orange. Yeah yeah bobby smith. What acplayer. You know brick Nelson reminds me of him

bammer26
bammer26

@Vicp73- Gartner could fly, had some wheels, Carpenter was fast and a good play maker.

bammer26
bammer26

@dimaio34 - Denis Maruuuuuuuuuuuk in the old Capitol Cntre in Landover. Was there quite a few times, and he was very underrated. Had a couple of monster years..

dimaio34
dimaio34

Ryan Walter. Behn Wilson. Pit Martin bobby schmautz mike zuke. Mike palmateer. Joey Mullen

dimaio34
dimaio34

Saw him play junior. Rewrote the record book back then. Go to hockey data base. Check it out

Vicp73
Vicp73

@bammer26 @dimaio34 remember that Capitals blueline Rod Langway, Scott Stevens, Larry Murphy and a young Kevin Hatcher??  Hard to believe they never won a thing with that back 4

bammer26
bammer26

@orange2327- How about the other two on that triple crown line?


Tony McKegney was very good, right behind the french connection. Larry Playfalir, Don Luce, Danny Gare, Rick Dudley...some great Sabres

dimaio34
dimaio34

Yeah the caps had a great team. Brian Murray really coached them well in 1980 Brian Murray and bob strumm single handily saved our junior team in Regina. That year we had Doug wickenhiesr. Barry trots. Darren vietch flock hart. Mike blaisdell and butcher. What a team. Wickenhiesr had 89 goals!!!!

Vicp73
Vicp73

@dimaio34 Wow Wickenheiser was such a disappointment though, Montreal will never forget drafting him over Denis Savard 

dimaio34
dimaio34

Yeah but back then wick was the guy. You should have seen him play in Regina. He could change any situation. Heard that booze played a major role in his decline. He passed away several years ago of skin cancer. Very sad

Vicp73
Vicp73

@dimaio34 Bryan Foggarty was another guy who destroyed records in junior

dimaio34
dimaio34

Yeah he played out east what ever happened to him? Another I watched was theo fluery. Let's put it this way. Fleury was a insane player. He was unstoppable. But he had mike keane and Kelly buchberger on his line. And they saved his life. Theo would just be the dirtiest rat ever. But his production was some if the best I ever saw

dimaio34
dimaio34

How about Brian propp?? Now he was killer. Harold snepts.

Vicp73
Vicp73

@dimaio34 The Harold Snepts to Mike Bossy game 1 giveaway was classic. Love big Harold take him on my team any day

dimaio34
dimaio34

Yeah that was character if I ever saw it