New York Islanders winger Brock Nelson has filed for salary arbitration, the only Islander to do so this summer. It’s the second time that the restricted free agent and his club will go head-to-head over his next contract. He went until the eve of training camp in 2015 before agreeing to the three-year contract that just expired.
That one had an annual cap hit of $2.5 million but escalated in salary from $1.5 million in the first year to $3.5 million in 2017-18, according to CapFriendly.
Today was the deadline for player-elected salary arbitration in the NHL, and in all 44 players filed. By electing for arbitration, players ensure they’ll have a contract either after a hearing before an arbitrator or — as is far more often the case — when the sides agree with the deadline of an arbitration hearing looming.
Nelson has reached 20 goals three out of his last four seasons, with last season’s 19 being the exception, and 2015-16’s 26 goals being his career high. But his role diminished some last season as he dropped a whole minute per game in ice time, to a four-year low of 14:44.
Frankly, how he fits and what role Lou Lamoriello — and then Barry Trotz, once he can deploy him on the ice — sees for Nelson will be interesting. Interesting too, if his case actual makes it to arbitration. He came up as a center but has had trouble excelling in that role, and his 20-goal seasons have been marked by long droughts.
Arbitration dates will be set later, but all of the hearings will be scheduled to take place between July 20 and Aug. 4.