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Islanders Top 25 Under 25: Brock Nelson Rolls in at #12

The Reverend is happy to see you here today.
The Reverend is happy to see you here today.

With surplus draft picks to leverage -- a refreshing contrast to the pre-2008 period -- Garth Snow made a move at the end of the first round where he'd already selected Nino Niederreiter at #5: He gave up the #58 pick (late second round) to move up five slots and take Brock Nelson at #30.

Having been seen only against high school competition, at the time Nelson was seen as "charging up the draft rankings" but also a wild card due to that lower level of competition. Fellow centers Tyler Pitlick (Minn. State) and Jared Knight (London, OHL) were picked immediately after him at 31 and 31.

Now entering his sophomore year at North Dakota, Nelson's performance in college and at the World Juniors has thus far backed up the Islanders scouts' belief in him. It's also put him at #12 in our informal Islanders Top 25 Under 25 poll.

Nelson has the USA Hockey bloodlines and universally positive character reviews, but more importantly he has the mix of size, fine skills and hockey awareness that makes him a smart player in college now and a potentially important NHLer in the future.

Nelson's off to a nice start this year as a sophomore playing with two junior classmen, and you can catch him whenever UND games are aired in your area.

Our six panelists voted before training camp began, but it's safe to say we're all taken by that range of attributes Nelson possesses. Pr*j*ct*ng is hard (and highly discouraged in these parts) as each level of hockey poses new challenges that force a young player to adapt his game. But the bet here is that Nelson becomes an NHLer, one of beyond average value.


How We Voted

Top 25 Under 25 mikb M11 CIL Dom KQ Web/Mark
Brock Nelson
17 15 8 14 11 11

For this first edition, we polled LHH authors Keith, WebBard (Mark D), mikb, myself, and two particularly prospect-focused LHH regulars, CanadianIslesLifer and MatthewM11. We wanted enough to get a decent number of voters but not so much that we make the first run unwieldy. It is absolutely unscientific but with varied enough votes to get us thinking.

Previous Posts in This Top 25 Islanders Under 25 Series

The Top 25 under 25 is an idea conceived (I think) by Oilers blog Copper & Blue and copied elsewhere, incorporated here by popular demand. We cut it off at players who were under 25 going into this season, so Andrew MacDonald, having just turned 25 this month, barely misses eligibility.