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Nelson knocking on NHL door

Friday, 09.13.2013 / 4:10 PM / News
By Corey Hersch
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Nelson knocking on NHL door
Brock Nelson made his NHL debut during the 2013 playoffs after a solid rookie season with AHL Bridgeport.

New York Islanders Training Camp features some players who have been in the NHL for 10-plus years, as well as others who have yet to play their first NHL game. It’s a wide range of talent and experience, but camp offers a chance for Islanders head coach Jack Capuano to get a good look at the entire organization to see where each player stands.

“We’ve got a lot of guys here,” Capuano said. “Some guys are going to need a little bit more seasoning in Bridgeport, and we know that. But we’re going to find out more here in camp and at the preseason games coming up.”

The camp’s attendees will have ample opportunity to prove they belong, as the Islanders are scheduled to play eight preseason games. The first exhibitions are set for Tuesday, Sept. 17, when the Islanders and Calgary Flames play a pair of split-squad games in Calgary, Alberta and Regina, Saskatchewan.

“That’s what the preseason is for,” Capuano said. “And we’re going to get a good look at a lot of guys.”

One of the players Capuano and the rest of the coaching staff is surely taking notes on is Brock Nelson. Last season was the 21-year-old’s first as a professional and he led the Sound Tigers with 52 points (25 goals, 27 assists) in 66 games. He made his NHL debut in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I’ve seen enough of Brock to know that he’s close,” Capuano said. “He’s a guy that’s big and strong and has paid his dues in the offseason. He just goes about his business a certain way and we like the way he goes about it. He’s going to get a real good look in this preseason.”

With the exhibition games on the horizon, Nelson knows it’s a chance to make an impression.

“We’re just going to work hard and battle,” Nelson said. “I think the coaching staff has done a great job so far getting us ready for that. There’s a couple of days left before we get our first exhibition so guys are just going to get ready for that and give it everything they have on the ice.”

Aaron Ness played nine games for the Islanders in 2011-12. He knows every time he steps on the ice at camp is a chance to prove he belongs in the NHL full-time.

“I think you’ve just got to play your game,” Ness said. “Obviously they think highly of all of us, so you’ve got to do what makes you a better player and work as hard and as smart as you can.”

The players have been split into two groups at camp. Group A consists of the Islanders veterans while Group B is comprised of the younger skaters, including both Nelson and Ness. But Capuano warns to not read too much into the way players are divided.

“We’ve always felt if there is somebody here who is going to help us win, they have a spot on our hockey team,” Capuano said. “Just because the groups are where they are today, with A and B, once we get [preseason] games in, their play is going to dictate our decision making.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
3 NYI 62 40 20 2 200 173 82
4 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
5 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 62 33 19 10 184 156 76
8 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
9 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 61 25 27 9 137 161 59
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 59 22 30 7 134 159 51
16 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 62 29 34 4 63
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 62 13 26 21 39
B. Nelson 62 17 19 6 36
F. Nielsen 62 11 25 11 36
A. Lee 56 20 12 12 32
J. Bailey 50 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 52 7 22 15 29
N. Leddy 62 8 17 14 25
T. Hamonic 52 4 19 16 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 32 13 0 .910 2.49
C. Johnson 8 7 1 .890 2.95

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