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New York Islanders

The Impact of Brock Nelson’s Scoring and Absence This Season

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Brock Nelson New York Islanders

Consistency. That has not been a collective thing amongst the New York Islanders forward group in 2021-22, with only a few players producing offensively at a consistent rate. One of the forwards that has produced, when in the lineup, has been Brock Nelson.

Due to the number of games Brock Nelson has missed, seven due to injury, and two due to COVID-19, the 30-year old forward has only played in 38 of the New York Islanders’ 47 games.

However, he leads the New York Islanders in goals with 19 and is currently riding a four-game goal streak.

With 35 games remaining on the schedule, Nelson could score over 35 goals this season, which would be a career-high.

In 2019-20, the Islanders only played 68 regular-season games due to the pandemic. Nelson finished with 26 goals and was on pace for over 30. He had scored 0.38 goals per game that season.

This season Brock Nelson is scoring 0.50 goals per game, a goal every other game. Fifteen of his 19 goals have come at even strength.

“I feel like I’m playing pretty good hockey. Just trying to go out there and contribute offensively,” Nelson said. “I think this season’s gone pretty well but also trying to win games, so I’d like to score more.”

As for what’s changed in Nelson’s game this season, New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz made this statement.

“I just think he’s, you know, he’s got a lot of confidence, but I think he just shooting the puck so well. It’s clean off his stick,” Trotz said. “I think he’s just naturally shooting it rather than trying to aim it. Just like a baseball pitcher trying to throw a pitch.

“I think he’s just he gets on a stick. He’s got a really good feel of awareness of where the net is. He’s hitting the spots.”

With 118 goals on the season and just 2.51 goals per game, the New York Islanders are towards the bottom of the NHL in offensive production. Take away Nelson’s 19 goals, and the Islanders would only be averaging 2.11 goals per game.

To put this into even more of a perspective, the entire fourth line for the Islanders has 12 goals. Nelson has more goals than Wahlstrom and Pageau combined (17) and more goals than Lee and Palmieri combined (18).

The New York Islanders are 8-3-3 in games that Brock Nelson has scored in this season, with a record of 11-17-5 when he fails to score.

Nelson has produced significantly more than most Islanders and has shown that he is the focal point of his line, regardless of who is beside him.

Over the last couple of seasons, Anthony Beauvilleir and Josh Bailey have been his linemates. And when one of them had struggled, it seemed that the line had struggled to produce, despite Nelson being the scorer of the line.

Nelson has played just over 144 minutes with Beauvillier and Bailey this season with just four goals. In just over 142 minutes with Beauvillier and Kyle Palmieri, that line has scored seven goals. And recently, Nelson has seen Bellows on his wing with Beauvillier.

That line has produced three goals in just over 67 minutes.

There is no guarantee that Anthony Beauvillier will be on the Islanders in 2022-23, and the same for 23-year old Kieffer Bellows.

Based on the way Palmieri has played as of late with Mathew Barzal, if that keeps up, those two could be a one-two punch on the top line next season.

Although the no. 2 center, Nelson has tried to carry the team as best he can this season, when he’s been in the lineup. And who knows where the Islanders would be standing wise if Nelson had been healthy the entire season.

We could play the number games, as the Islanders have picked up 19 of a possible 28 possible points (.679%) when Nelson has scored. He missed nine games, a possible 18 points, which equates to a tad over 12 more points than the Islanders currently have.

That would put the Islanders at 58 points, six points out of the second wild-card spot, with four games in hand.

The projection has its flaws given who the Islanders played, plus the fact that sports, especially the NHL, are unpredictable. The ‘What If’ game may be entertaining, but it is about reality, and the Islanders are 16 points out of a wild-card spot.

Brock Nelson’s game has been a positive in a season full of negatives. It would have been interesting to see what Nelson could have accomplished over 82 games and how that production would have impacted the Islanders chance at a playoff spot.