For a second-straight season, Brock Nelson will likely lead the New York Islanders in goals. And now, for the first time in his career, he is heading to All-Star Weekend.
In 39 games this season, Nelson has a team-leading 15 goals, with his 23 assists second behind Mathew Barzal.
Drafted 30th overall in 2010, it took Nelson a handful of years to become a consistent force for the New York Islanders.
Once former head coach Barry Trotz came to the island in 2018, he found a way to get the most out of Nelson. In Trotz’s final season, 2021-22, Nelson set a career-high in goals with 37.
Under Lambert, Nelson has kept the goal-scoring touch on pace for 32 goals and is also on pace for a career-high in assists with 55. Nelson’s highest number of assists in a single season is 28, which he reached in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
Nelson has points in all but 10 games this season, and the longest he has gone without a point is two games.
“Nelson’s game has just blossomed, especially in the last few years,” New York Islanders captain Anders Lee told NYI Hockey Now. “But I mean, he’s always had this skill level and hockey IQ, and it’s extremely natural for him. You can see how fluid he is out there, whether he’s skating or shooting the puck. Just so solid in all three zones and defensively.”
He has been the Islanders X-factor this season, doing everything for New York. He’s been tremendous for New York on both sides of the puck, playing on the power play and the penalty kill, and with Cal Clutterbuck out of the lineup, the 31-year-old forward has been donning an “A.”
“I mean, he’s having a great season statistically, but without that, he’s still just such a great skater and a great player, and now that those things are coming, he’s getting recognition, but I think he could also have gotten that before,” Lee said.
New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal and netminder Ilya Sorokin each were deserving of an All-Star appearance, as now it will be up to the fans, who have until Jan. 19, to vote one of them in.
Barzal has made the All-Star team twice, so it’s cool that Nelson gets his first chance. Sorokin has been the best netminder in the Metropolitan Division.
NHL All-Star Weekend will be held on Feb. 3 (Skills Competition) and Feb. 4 (All-Star Game) in Sunrise, Fl at the home of the Florida Panthers.