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Predicting Brock Nelson’s Next Contract with the Islanders – Hockey Writers – New York Islanders

Brock Nelson has been one of the best players for the New York Islanders in recent seasons. He gets on the score sheet consistently, scores important goals, and drives down the line that would be nothing without him. He has been the alternate captain since the 2020-21 season and is one of the most underrated players in the league. Now that he is entering the final season under his contract, what should Islanders fans expect to see next?

Nelson’s Skills Test

Nelson is coming off 34 goals, 69 points in all 82 games. This was his third straight 30-goal season, and his eighth time in the last nine seasons in which he scored or surpassed the 20-goal pace. He is the offense for the Islanders, and he finds ways to drive the offense all over the ice.

He is best known for his wrist shot. It’s fast, smooth, and feels like it can go anywhere on the ice. He uses his silky hands to move above the goalie’s pads, but also makes sweet passes on the ice. He helped the Islanders improve their powerplay and second line this season by using his threat to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. He has improved his skating and used it as a tool to grab the attention of defenders to open up the ice for his teammates, and this has especially paid off for his season-long partner, Kyle Palmieri.

Brock Nelson, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/Hockey Writers)

Palmieri tied his career high with 30 goals, and Nelson had the second most assists in a season with 35. The two have shown their chemistry each shift, and that will be a big bright spot going forward. They spent 563.5 minutes together on the line next to Piere Engvall and spent more than 800 minutes together this season. In addition to his 69 points, the line of Engvall, Nelson, and Palmieri, according to Moneypuck, had an expected goal percentage of 55.3, which is the fifth best of any line in the NHL with more than 500 minutes together. They shut down top opponents and ran the offense, providing stability to a team that didn’t know what that term meant this season.

Contract Comparisons

Nelson is in a unique position going forward. His current contract is a six-year, $6 million average annual value (AAV) deal, which is a good deal considering his production. At the time of his signing, he was coming off a 19-goal season, which was the last time he averaged less than 20 goals. It’s easy to say he deserves a raise, but given his age, is that in the cards?

Related: 5 Islanders likely to return in 2024-25

Nelson is arguably the best center in the NHL and should be in line for a contract similar to Evgeni Malkin’s four-year, $6.1 million AAV, Anze Kopitar’s two-year, $7 million AAV, and Ryan’s four O’Reilly. per year, $4.5 million AAV. All three recently signed contracts and are in the back nine of their NHL careers. They are established institutions with strong CVs, and each deserves its own new paydays.

Nelson, who will turn 34 at the start of his next contract, likely wants some time. This would be a three to four year deal, backed by a no-trade clause. He is well settled on Long Island, and would like security to continue raising his family in the area where he has spent his entire career.

The Islanders bringing back Nelson should be a no-brainer, especially given NHL insider Eliotte Friedman’s comments about Nelson during the 2024 Trade Deadline. On the 32 Thoughts Podcast, Friedman joked that “Lou Lamoriello would rather eat his left leg than trade Brock Nelson.” He discussed Nelson’s importance to the team, and how losing him would change the franchise’s soul.

Given this statement, the Islanders will probably do whatever they can to keep Nelson, maybe even give him the name he wants. Therefore, a three-year contract, with a full no-trade clause for the first two seasons before a modified no-trade clause for the final season, is likely to happen. The projected AAV will be, too, as it will drop to $5 million per year if Nelson decides to have a teammate, or to $7 or $7.5 million if he extends his hand. However, the most likely outcome is a slight increase in his current contract, reflecting the Islanders’ satisfaction with his previous deal, which received a $6.25 million AAV contract over three seasons.

With the NHL Draft and free agency approaching, the Islanders will have many tough decisions to make. There are no key agents waiting, but that could be considered a problem, as the team is strong and needs to find ways to improve. Fortunately, with the salary cap expected to continue to rise over the next few seasons, the team can make aggressive moves to improve the current core, including extending Nelson this offseason.

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