Nelson has a shot at Islanders' lineup
The Islanders rearranged their camp into two more distinct groups Tuesday, with an 'A' list and a 'B' list. The 25 'A' listers at Nassau Coliseum do not represent Jack Capuano's final roster, but they are a close version of what the team will be on Oct. 4 in Newark.
The 'B' listers skated at IceWorks with Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin.
The most prominent newcomer to the 'A' list is Brock Nelson, the 21-year-old forward who skated Tuesday as the left wing with Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
Nelson played all of last season at center with Bridgeport, where he was third among AHL rookies with 25 goals. That versatility -- Nelson played his final season at North Dakota, in 2011-12, as a wing, and scored 28 goals in 42 games -- is just one reason why Nelson was the 30th pick in the 2010 NHL draft and appears to have a leg up on the chase to crack Capuano's opening-night roster.
"That'd be huge. If you're able to play wing and center and they need somebody on the wing, it's a great extra thing to have," Nelson said.
Ryan Strome, the fifth pick in the 2011 draft, also joined the Coliseum group, along with Johan Sundstrom and defensemen Matt Donovan and Griffin Reinhart. But Nelson had the chance to skate in a top-nine forward spot that likely would have belonged to Cal Clutterbuck, who is out another 3-5 weeks with a deep skate laceration to his right leg.
Nelson said his transition back to wing could take a couple days to feel like a comfortable fit.
"I did it in college for a year, and I played the wing in the playoff game last year. I remember the positional aspect of it, so maybe it takes a couple times going through it," he said. "It's an easy transition with a couple veteran guys like Peter and Bouch."
This is the sort of competition that's been missing from Islanders training camps the past few seasons.
"You see a lot of great teams that have that, teams like Detroit, where every year there's new guys knocking on the door," said John Tavares. "And with that, it keeps guys honest, keeps us pushing each other up here, knowing there's a lot of good players that are going to get their opportunity. It's important to have that."