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Nelson knocking on NHL door

Friday, 09.13.2013 / 4:10 PM ET / News
By Corey Hersch
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Nelson knocking on NHL door

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.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 11 6 5 -3 11
K. Okposo 11 2 6 -3 8
F. Nielsen 11 3 3 -3 6
B. Nelson 11 1 4 -5 5
T. Hickey 11 1 4 -5 5
A. Quine 10 1 4 -1 5
S. Prince 11 3 1 -1 4
R. Strome 8 1 3 1 4
N. Leddy 11 1 3 1 4
N. Kulemin 11 1 3 -5 4
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Greiss 5 6 2 .923 2.46
J. Berube 0 0 0 1.000 0.00
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