Brock Nelson’s future with the New York Islanders is in his own hands and he’s running with it. Or should we say skating?
The 27-year-old center is facing unrestricted free agency following this season after signing a $4.2 million, one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
With no John Tavares and a bulk of the offensive production resting on the shoulders of captain Anders Lee and second-year star Mathew Barzal, Nelson was viewed by many to be New York’s x-factor this season.
There is no denying that Nelson has the skillset to be a big offensive contributor, but he’s been unable to put it all together during his first five years in the league.
He’s hit the 20-goal mark just three times but has never had more than 45 points in a season as his playmaking abilities and puck management skills have lagged.
With one more chance given to him by the new regime of Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz, Nelson has spent time on both the first and second lines, mostly on the latter, as the Islanders attempt to find that scoring touch.
It’s safe to say that Islanders fans can officially label the opening month of the season “Brocktoberfest,” as popularized by the ever-so-witty faction of social media labeled “Isles Twitter”:
— Reagan King (@ReaganKingIsles) October 30, 2018
Nelson has five goals in his last five games, including a pair on Saturday in a 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. He also made his way onto the scoresheet on Tuesday night in a surprising 6-3 win in Pittsburgh against the Flyers.
The tally saw his October end with six goals and an assist as he continues to play his best hockey during the opening month of the season.
In 60 career games during the month Nelson has 23 goals and 21 assists. He has no more than 16 goals (in 67 games in December and 62 games in January) and 14 assists (in 65 career November games) in any other month.
The Islanders, who are fresh off a three-game road sweep of the Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, and Penguins, will be hoping that Nelson’s production will carry through to the rest of the season. It was a major reason why they were able to get through a brutal opening schedule that saw them play eight road games in their first 11 with a 6-4-1 record.
If he can, the Islanders will keep surprising people as Trotz and Co.’s win on Tuesday night ensured a 4-0-0 start in division play for the first time since the 1982-83 season.