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
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 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Bailey 5 2 3 2 5
J. Tavares 5 1 3 0 4
K. Okposo 5 2 1 1 3
N. Leddy 5 0 3 -2 3
R. Strome 5 2 0 0 2
B. Nelson 4 2 0 0 2
C. Clutterbuck 5 1 1 1 2
L. Visnovsky 4 0 2 5 2
C. Cizikas 5 1 0 1 1
C. de Haan 5 0 1 -2 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 2 3 1 .913 2.61
M. Neuvirth 0 0 0 1.000 0.00

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