The clock is ticking for the Islanders and restricted free agent Brock Nelson, who is still without a contract as Thursday's start of training camp looms.
With that kind of pressure, there should be some negotiating between the two camps, but Nelson's agent, Ron Salcer, said that is far from the case.
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"We haven't heard from them in six weeks," Salcer told Newsday on Monday. "Garth [Snow, the Islanders' general manager] 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."
Nelson is coming off his entry-level contract, which means he's in a tough spot to negotiate even though he scored 20 goals in his second full NHL season. He has no arbitration rights, so Snow and the Islanders control this situation.
It's the same spot Anders Lee was in last offseason; Lee took his qualifying offer of $850,000 for last year, scored 25 goals and wound up with a four-year, $15-million deal.
Nelson's camp rejected his qualifying offer and the Islanders have offered a two-year deal that, according to Salcer, is not a fair contract.
"I don't want to get into numbers, but for the first year, it's half of what players similar to Brock are making," Salcer said. "And in [a] year [or] two, it's a third of what players similar to Brock are making . . . We're not being unreasonable. This is all their doing."
Salcer named four players who received significant raises this offseason despite being in the same situation as Nelson: Mikael Granlund got two years and $6 million from the Wild, Alex Galchenyuk got two years and $5.6 million from the Canadiens, Mika Zibanejad received two years and $5.25 million from the Senators and Elias Lindholm got two years and $5.4 million from the Hurricanes, though Lindholm still is a year away from that contract kicking in.
Snow hasn't budged off his initial two-year offer, largely because he's got lots of other contracts coming up. Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner will be unrestricted free agents after this season and Ryan Strome will be a restricted free agent next summer.
There's a hard deadline coming in barely more than 48 hours for Nelson. Since Charles Wang became Islanders owner, his rule has been that players who do not sign by the time camp starts are out for the entire year.
Snow declined to comment on the situation. Salcer said he called Snow earlier Monday but had yet to hear back, a sign that things could thaw between the two sides in time for Nelson to join his teammates.
"Is Brock the guy you want to bring the hammer down on?" Salcer asked. "He's a great kid; he wants to be in camp to be part of this good thing the Islanders have going. And they're the ones keeping him from that."