Islanders Sign Brock Nelson at the 11th Hour

Yesterday on Twitter, the New York Islanders’ fan base were anxiously tweeting at full force. They were not tweeting about last night’s Presidential GOP debate on CNN. All Islanders fans were concerned with Brock Nelson and if he would sign by the start of training camp. For years, New York has had a team policy of if a player is not signed by the opening of camp, they do not wear the Islanders jersey for that season. Even though it took to the 11th hour for New York to sign Nelson, I felt strongly it would get done. By their actions in the past, New York has shown how much they feel Nelson is a core player for them now and going forward. When Nelson was drafted in 2010, New York aggressively traded up from the 35th overall pick to the 30th pick (last selection in the first round), as well as give up an additional second round pick in that draft. This past spring, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported the Islanders had offered Nelson a seven-year deal. When the smoke cleared last night, Nelson and the Islanders agreed on a three-year deal for $7.5 million.

Contract Negotiations

The tea leaves were there. The current contract  negotiations between Nelson and the Islanders were going to come down to the last day. The only leverage Nelson had was the calendar and the clock. Nelson was a restricted free agent with no arbitration rights. Going to play the upcoming season in either Europe or the KHL would have been a bad move for his career and was a terrible option. The best he could hope for was wait until right before New York’s deadline and work out the best possible deal that he and his representatives could. What most people need to realize, in almost all walks of life, is that when it comes to renewing contracts, the real negotiations do not begin until a day or two before the deadline. As much as talk started to get heated by Nelson’s agent on deadline day, I felt confident a deal would be worked out. If Nelson was not signed and in camp on Day 1, everyone would lose. This would not be how the Islanders would want to start their promising season going into a new building. For Nelson, the consequences of not signing could have been catastrophic for his career. When there are contract negotiations where the results are no deal, everyone loses big; nine times out of 10, a deal gets done.

YouTube player

Isles’ Bridge Deal is for Three Years

Nelson and his agent kept citing recent deals for Alex Galchenyuk of the Canadiens and Mikael Granlund of the Wild, in terms of an appropriate new contract. Most NHL experts would say Nelson is not the player both Galchenyuk and Granlund are currently. But Nelson was able to land a deal where his annual average of $2.5 million is in their neighborhood. For the Islanders, they were able to land a three-year bridge deal. Most bridge deals for talented young players, who are RFAs without arbitration rights, have been for two years. In this deal, New York landed an extra year on their bridge deal with Nelson. In the current state of the NHL regarding the salary cap, it is critical for general managers to manage their cap effective for both the short and long term. The Nelson signing for the Islanders was a very smart one in terms of the salary cap. Both parties should feel very good about this contract.

Follow me on Twitter @TheNLKing