Brock Nelson, Sir, I Have Seen Enough.
Brock Nelson, man. Pinch me if you’ve heard this before. Last offseason I wrote about the Islanders’ #29 and how underrated he is. However, I want to up the ante. As of right now, I am convinced that Nelson is the best center on Long Island. While Mat Barzal dwarfs Nelson in terms of talent, I just simply like what I see from Brock the Rock more. Picture this: in a down-year, where the Isles’ offense has struggled immensely, during the Barry Trotz defense-first era, Brock Nelson hit 30 goals in a season for this first time in his career. Yep, that just happened today in Boston. On both ends, he is a difference-maker and has been one of their saving graces this season.
He Cannot Go ANYWHERE
Changes are more than likely coming to the Island this summer. Despite bouncing back from a terrible start, the Islanders’ playoff hopes seem too little too late at this point. Team President Lou Lamoriello made his feelings no secret in a post-trade deadline press conference. The core in place is still good enough to contend in his eyes. And I don’t think he’s totally crazy for believing that. If he’s able to move off some of the deadweight (cough, cough, Josh Bailey) and acquire some high-end scorers then 2023 could be much more like 2020 or 2021.
One of the reasons I can rationalize with Lou is because of Brock Nelson. Even if there are moves on the horizon, his one and only home must be the UBS Arena. He is simply indispensable to this team at this moment in time. He’s good in the faceoff circle, has a great shot, throws the body around, and is a great locker room presence. I have no problem with making Barzal the “top-line” center and giving him those assignments, but if you ask me, Nelson is just better. He is a guy all 32 teams would be chomping at the bit to have. Imagine if he did not play for Barry Trotz and had some more reliable scoring wingers. I am not saying that he would instantly become a point-per-game player, but his production would be even better than 30 goals and 15 assists in 54 games.
Even Better Seasons Ahead?
I for one do not think that 2021-22 will be the only 30-goal season in Brock Nelson’s career. This summer will have a number of great scoring wingers available via trade and free agency. If they can pull off a big splash, then it would go a long way to revitalizing the offense. It’ll reshuffle the depth chart and hopefully allow a guy like Oliver Wahlstrom to consistently be on Nelson’s line. Furthermore, moving for a puck-moving defenseman is another priority for Lamoriello and Company. Nelson is also an asset on the Power Play and having a high-level quarterback for the man advantage will unlock even more scoring potential for the Minnesota native. In conclusion, as I’ve said before, Brock Nelson is just a stud. If you ask me, despite turning 30 soon, he’s still gonna be great for a while.
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