MEET THE 2010 DRAFT PICKS
Newyorkislanders.com gets to know the future stars of the team
Thursday, 07.8.2010 / 6:17 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
The Nassau Coliseum has been a busy place this week. Islanders prospects have flown from across the country from North Dakota and as far as Switzerland and Russia to come to the prospect Mini Camp. Brock Nelson, the 30th overall selection of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft is here along with Jason Clark, Tony DeHart and Cody Rosen.
Nelson, a Minnesota native, has incredible potential. He was extremely excited about being drafted. “It was pretty cool. I was the last pick in the first round,” Nelson said. “We weren’t really expecting it at that time, but it happened and it was fun.”
In his last two seasons with Warroad High School, his point totals have been unbelievable. In the 2009-10 season, he averaged 2.92 goals per game, scoring in all but two contests. By the end, he tallied 73 points (39 goals, 34 assists) in 25 games. In his junior year, Nelson played in 31 games, scoring 45 goals and 31 assists for 76 points.
Islanders head coach Scott Gordan is certainly impressed. “He’s a young kid that I can’t imagine the size he’s going to have in two years. Once he gets the opportunity to get in some workouts that he’ll experience here, take the program home and start working on that.
“As a senior in high school, going in to college, that will be huge for him to be able to take this time in the next three years to develop physically. With his skating ability and his skill, by the time he’s ready to turn pro he should be well ahead of the game.”
Nelson has committed his 2010-11 season to the University of North Dakota so he never stopped training.
“After the draft I headed right to North Dakota, did a week of training and then had to come right here so I’ve been busy ever since,” Nelson said.
Coming to Mini Camp has been a great experience for Nelson. At 18-years-old, he’s still a young player who has a lot of time to develop, but he has already figured out how he wants to develop his game.
“It’s definitely a faster pace [in the NHL], bigger guys, stronger,” Nelson said. “That’s something I’m going to have to develop. I need to get bigger and stronger to be able to play here and hopefully I’ll do that.”
Meeting Jason Clark
While he’s been at camp, the Islanders third-round draft pick who is also a Minnesota native, Jason Clark, has had the opportunity to talk to Nelson.
“He’s a great kid,” said Clark. “We are both from Minnesota. We didn’t really know each other actually, but he committed to North Dakota and that was one of the schools I was looking at. So I met him when I was visiting there once. He’s just a really polite kid, obviously a really wonderful hockey player, so it will be fun to learn from him this week and see what his skills are.”
Even though Clark is excited to see what he can learn from Nelson, he has some pretty good statistics of his own. Clark played for Shattuck-St. Mary’s High School in Minnesota. As a senior, he played in 54 regular season games earning 23 goals and 23 assists for 46 points. In 2008-09, Clark played in 48 regular season games tallying 18 goals and 26 assists for 44 points.
Head Coach Scott Gordon was impressed. “Today was the first time I saw Jason and I was very impressed with his strength. There’s a kid coming out of high school like Brock, but there’s certainly definitely a different level of strength that he has,” Gordon said. “[Clark] skates well. He seems to have a good feel for the game. He stepped in there today and didn’t look out of place. I was impressed with his play today.”
Like Nelson, Clark has been spending his summer training for college hockey. Clark has committed to play for the University of Wisconsin, but after being drafted, Clark was looking for advice.
He said, “I talked to the trainer [at Wisconsin] on what advice he had to be ready for here and I mean he just kind of said ‘Do your thing, stay relaxed, and don’t get up tight with it.’ ”
That’s great advice. In his first day of Mini Camp, Clark had to deal with an equipment quirk he had never experienced with before.
“Well it was my first time wearing a half shield today, so that was something different. It fogged up on me. I wasn’t used to that so it was a good experience.”
But overall, Clark is enjoying himself. “I’m just having fun with the guys,” he said. “They’re all really nice.”
Meeting Tony DeHart
Tony DeHart played the last two seasons with the Oshawa Generals alongside teammate and fellow Islanders draftee Calvin de Haan.
“I played with Calvin de Haan in Oshawa the last two years so I’m really excited that I can maybe reunite with him here in a couple of years,” DeHart said.
In the 2009-10 season, DeHart led all Oshawa defensemen in scoring with 50 points (10 goals, 40 assists) in 68 games. Even though he had a great season, he was still a little surprised that he was drafted this year.
He said, “It was awesome. I didn’t think I was going to get drafted this year since I’m 20-years-old. Usually guys that get drafted are 18, so it was definitely an honor. I was pretty much in shock. So it was awesome.”
Although DeHart was in shock, Head Coach Scott Gordon has liked what he’s seen.
“Tony is a guy that I think last year was kind of his coming out party. And to get the opportunity to play a full year of juniors where he gets a lot of opportunity to be the top guy, he’s got good size. I think he’s going to be a guy that’s going to continue to get better,” Gordon said.
Meeting Cody Rosen
Cody Rosen, the Islanders seventh round selection, played the 2008-09 season with the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. During the season, Rosen played 18 games between the pipes where posted a 14-3-1 record, earning him a 2.90 goals against average and .893 save percentage. He played in one game in the 2009-10 season with the Clarkson University Golden Knights.
Rosen was extremely excited to be an Islander draftee, but this week he is focusing on improving his game and learning whatever he can from the Isles coaching staff.
“I just want to learn as much as I can, soak up all the information and take it back with me,” Rosen said. “So far, I’ve learned a lot. The goalie coach Mike, and his assistant, have been doing a good job. I’m learning to just keep track of the puck. It’s a whole different pace of the game at the NHL level than at the college level so they’re trying to tweak my game a little bit, give me some minor adjustments to make myself successful at the next level.”
Rosen knows what’s ahead of him if he wants to make it to the NHL, but he also had the opportunity to protect his net from some of the Islanders young talent.
“I watched the first round of the draft and just seeing Nino get drafted, that was pretty exciting. Seeing him out on the ice with me, shooting on me, is pretty cool. Also having John Tavares and Josh Bailey shooting on me during the goalie sessions is real exciting too, so just being with those guys is a real thrill. I couldn’t be happier.”
So what is the biggest difference he has noticed?
“It’s a lot faster. The shots are a lot quicker. You have to be one step ahead of the game here and it’s a great experience for me. I know I’m only going to get better with all this work that’s coming my way, so I’m just real excited about it.