Brock Nelson, Islanders Agree to New Contract: Latest Details and Reaction

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2015

New York Islanders' Brock Nelson during warm-ups prior to the start of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Tuesday, April 7, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Tom Mihalek/Associated Press

The New York Islanders announced on Wednesday night that they've agreed to a new contract with restricted free-agent forward Brock Nelson.

According to Newsday's Arthur Staple, Nelson's deal is three years and worth $7.5 million. 

The Islanders needed to strike a deal with Nelson before training camp, as a self-imposed rule stated that any player not signed before that deadline would be forced to sit out the entire season, per CBSSports.com's Adam Gretz

There were concerns that a contract was not going to be done in time, as Nelson's agent, Ron Salcer, told Staple on Monday:

We haven't heard from them in six weeks. Garth [Snow, the Islanders' general manager] and I talked six weeks ago after they made an offer, which was nowhere near commensurate with what players like Brock are making. Garth said he'd get back to me and that was it. No negotiations whatsoever.

Ensuring Nelson is playing in this upcoming season is a nice boost for the Islanders, who are still trying to find out the right line combination for their top unit, which includes John Tavares at center and Kyle Okposo on the right wing. 

Nelson is coming off of a 20-goal season in just his second year in the NHL as the 23-year-old spent time working with the first line last season. But he could lose out to fellow youngster Anders Lee, who scored 25 goals in his first full season, for those responsibilities. 

Even if he is not playing with one of the NHL's best players in Tavares, he would bring his scoring ability and size (6'3", 206 pounds), though he's not the most physical player, to the second line. There, he could be playing with the likes of Ryan Strome and Frans Nielsen, two smaller players who are gifted with the puck and could play him into positive scoring situations. 

If he continues to improve and can put up close to 25 or 30 goals a year, this deal could be considered a steal, though it will beckon for a much more lucrative payday in the future. Chris Peters of CBSSports.com explains:

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One thing that isn't ideal about Nelson's contract is that it will expire the same year John Tavares' current contract is fulfilled. That could end up making for an expensive year, but it will be worth it if Nelson is able to establish himself as a core player over these next three seasons.

On a developing Islanders team that finished fifth in the Eastern Conference last season for its second playoff berth in three years, Nelson's promising offensive game could prove an important asset to the team. And though that might mean the Islanders could be put in a tougher situation down the road come free agency, at least they are ensured an important piece to a competitive puzzle is coming back for the team's first season in Brooklyn. 

Stats courtesy of Hockey-Reference.com