When we last saw Brock Nelson, he had taken part in the Islanders summer Orange-Blue scrimmage and was preparing for World Juniors evaluation camp. We had a chance to speak with Brock after his Long Island appearance and get his thoughts on a few things, and we have an update on his recent performance.
If you remember, the Islanders selected Nelson with the final pick (30th) in the first round back in June's entry draft. Admittedly, we didn't know much about the young centerman at the time.
Currently enrolled at the University of North Dakota and already taking summer classes, Brock first told us about his draft day experience. He mentioned that it was a bit of a surprise and an honor for the Isles to move up and snatch him in the first round. Nearing the end of Day 1, he and his family expected to hear Brock's name called on the second day of the draft, but felt elated when they heard the New York Islanders select him just before the end of the round.
It was equally thrilling for Brock to get the chance to play in an NHL arena (at the scrimmage) just weeks removed from high school, though he admitted that he didn't get to speak very much with the Islanders coaching staff or some of their young stars. He did speak a bit about his congratulatory phone call from Kyle Okposo, who just wished him the best and told Brock to have fun at this time in his life.
With regards to the scrimmage itself, we can happily report that Brock did not look out of place, but noted that the one area he wishes to improve is his overall strength. He knows that the NHL game is much faster than anything he has experienced to this point in his career. He was also sure to praise Long Island and its fans; always a good move in our book. He mentioned the prospect fishing trip and their Mets game as two of the week's highlights.
More recently Brock has shined at the World Junior development camp in an attempt to make that squad in December. His 2 goal, 1 assist (in 3 games) performance in Lake Placid apparently impressed both the USA coaching staff and that of the Islanders. The talk now is of how much an asset his large frame may be to the Isles in the future. He told us that he models his game after Anze Kopitar's; not a bad player to emulate.
As the summer drags on, we'll have a few more tidbits from other prospects who participated in the scrimmage. Come September and October Okposo Net expects to bring you greater and more frequent access to Islanders players and prospects unlike ever before. We are getting very excited about the coming season, and we hope you are too.