University of North Dakota sophomore Brock Nelson has signed an entry level contract (ELC) with the New York Islanders. The 2010 30th-overall pick will join their AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the rest of the season on an amateur tryout (ATO), according to Newsday's Arthur Staple.
Nelson had an outstanding sophomore season with the [quarreling tribe] on a very good top line, with WCHA observers increasingly talking up his potential as an NHL forward. His 28 goals, 19 assists and 47 points in 42 points led the team. He makes an interesting 20/20 hindsight case, as the Islanders traded up from the second round (35th and 58th picks) in 2010 to grab him with the last pick on Day 1 of that draft. Adding spice to Draft Day's blurry lens, he was a Minnesota high school product, so questions lingered whether the (listed) 6'3", 205 lb. kid could duplicate his performance against better competition.
At North Dakota, he's displayed the hockey sense and drive for an NHL career that makes you momentarily ponder the whole "hockey genes" angle -- his uncle is longtime NHLer and 1980 Miracle On Ice winner Dave Christian, and his grandfather and great uncle were on the 1960 fairly miraculous gold medal-winning Olympic squad.
He's a very solid prospect and at this point hindsight calls it a smart Draft Day move. But we'll see how the next stage goes. Will his future be as a center or a wing? That's why they play the (developmental) game.