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New York Islanders

Brock Nelson Quietly Tying History With 24th Goal of Season



Brock Nelson

On Tuesday night in the 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals, Brock Nelson scored his 24th goal of the season. With that goal, Brock Nelson did more than score his fifth goal in his last six games.

He tied former NHLer Pat Hickey for the most goals ever by a forward drafted 30th overall in NHL history, at 192. Brock Nelson scored his 192nd NHL goal in his 652nd career game, with Pat Hickey doing so in 644 games.

Hickey, who was taken 30th overall by the New York Rangers in the 1973 Amateur Draft, played 644 games in the NHL, with 192 goals and 212 assists. Hickey retired following the 1984-85 season after a 14-year career with five teams: Rangers, Rockies, Maple Leafs, Nordiques, Blues.

Hickey did play in the WHA for two seasons, with 61 goals as a member of the Toronto Toros, stats that the NHL does not count, nor should they.

It’s misleading to compare generations, as the game in the 1980s was much different than the NHL game we see today.

Nelson heard 29 other names called ahead of him back in 2010. The likes of Taylor Hall (1st overall), Tyler Seguin (2nd overall), Jeff Skinner (7th overall), and Vladimir Tarasenko (16th) were drafted higher than Nelson, and for a good reason given the scouting and potential.

But that has not stopped Nelson from playing his game and being consistent with his production.

The 30th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft has eclipsed 20 goals in six of his first nine NHL seasons, with the shortened 56-game campaign of 2020-21 getting in the way of a stretch of 20 plus goals for four straight seasons.

Nelson had 18 goals in 56 games a year ago and was on pace for around 26 goals had it been a full 82-game campaign.

Out of all the names listed above, Nelson has the most goals this season, and one could argue that he’s been the most consistent outside of Tarasenko, who has dealt with injuries the last few seasons.

Taylor Hall has not scored over 20 goals since his Hart-winning season in 2017-18 with the New Jersey Devils, where he scored 39. Jeff Skinner went two years without scoring 20 or more goals after a monstrous 40-goal season in 2018-19 before lighting the lamp 23 times this season.

Nelson has 24 goals and 12 assists in 48 games. It has not been a perfect season, as the 30-year old forward missed nine games due to a lower-body injury and COVID-19, and of course, the New York Islanders have struggled.

Nelson, 31, has many years to go in the NHL, so it is likely that when he hangs up the skates, he will have a nice-sized lead on Pat Hickey for the most goals all-time by a 30th overall pick.

There are a few active 30th overall picks in the top-five: Anaheim Ducks forward Rickard Rackell, who has 154 goals in 549 games (28-years old); Vancouver Canucks forward Tanner Pearson, who has 130 goals in 563 games (29-years old); and Ryan Hartman who has 81 goals in 422 games (27-years old).

After scoring his 20th goal of the season back on Mar. 5 in a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues, Nelson reflected on another 20-plus goal campaign for himself.

“You set benchmarks and goals along the way. And I think that’s been one throughout my career you try to achieve,” Nelson said. “I’ve been able, this year, to get some pucks in, play with some good players like last couple years, and had some success.”


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