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The New York Islanders will hit the ice for training camp beginning Friday morning. One big name who may not be out on the Islanders Ice Works sheet is Brock Nelson.
Nelson, who scored 20 goals and recorded 42 points last season, remains unsigned after a qualifying offer in June was rejected. Negotiations have gone quiet, as the 23-year old’s agent told Arthur Staple of Newsday.
"We haven't heard from them in six weeks," [Ron] Salcer told Newsday. "[Islanders general manager] Garth [Snow] and I talked six weeks ago after they made an offer, which was nowhere near commensurate with what players like Brock are making. Garth said he'd get back to me and that was it. No negotiations whatsoever.”
According to Salcer, the two-year deal that was rejected would pay Nelson “half” of what comparables are making in the first year and “a third” of what comparables pull in for the second year. He might feel it's unfair, but in Snow's mind, Nelson is a player who started out last season hot scoring nine times in the opening month, but then slowed in the second half, potting only five goals after Jan. 4.
There’s a bit of desperation here on Nelson’s end. As Staple notes, Islanders owner Charles Wang has a steadfast rule when it comes to contract negotiations: If you don’t sign by the beginning of training camp you sit for the entire year. Period. Harsh? Sure -- just ask Brad Isbister -- but it certainly helps speed up talks in most cases.
With no arbitraiton rights, Nelson could always throw out the KHL or Europe option, but it’s probably too late in the game for that now. Plus, we all laugh when an agent or a “source” mentioned the KHL publicly. Bluff City.
Snow has an interesting puzzle to piece together over the next couple of years for the Islanders. Kyle Okposo is set to become a unrestricted free agent next summer, along with Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner, while Ryan Strome is scheduled to be an RFA. Fitting Nelson in at a specific number and term will go a long way to determing what the team’s cap picture will look like going forward.
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