Playing hockey is about getting chances, especially when it comes to playing in the NHL. That’s what’s going on with two rookies for the New York Islanders. Brock Nelson and Matt Donovan are getting plenty of playing time with the big club, and through the first three games of this season they are making the most of their opportunities. Both guys registered their first career points last night against the Phoenix Coyotes; Donovan scored his first NHL goal, and Nelson had his first NHL assist.
There was a lot of talk heading into this season as to who would pick up the slack on the blue line with the departure of Mark Streit. Well Donovan has done that and then some. I know it’s only three games into the season so it’s way too early to make an accurate comparison, but Donovan has done a good job impressing people around the organization. He averages about 17:31 of ice time a game, which is still pretty solid. He already has two points in the three games with a goal and an assist. Donovan shows a poise with the puck that reminds a few people of Streit, which could be a sign of things to come. His play the first few games has given the Islanders plenty of reason to keep him around.
Same thing can be said about Nelson even though he has only the one point to his name. Nelson averages about 11:39 of ice time a game, which is solid for a guy floating around the fourth line. He has had a good impact on this team, as he has shown the tendency to be a pest, mostly around the opposing net. Chances are his ice time, and playing time in general, may get cut with the impending return to the lineup of Cal Clutterbuck. Still, Nelson has opened up a few eyes around the organization.
What do you think?