Brock Nelson, known for his fast-starting “Brocktobers,” is already off to a good beginning this season.
His wife, Karley, gave birth on Tuesday to the couple’s second girl and they also have two boys.
As that relates to hockey, it kept Nelson out of his planned preseason debut, Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Devils at Prudential Center. Instead, Nelson will almost certainly dress for the first time in the preseason when the Islanders face the Flyers on Sunday night at UBS Arena.
“I haven’t had any discussions but I would expect to play three of [the last] four,” the center said on Thursday at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. “In terms of just timing and legs, I feel great. Games are just slightly different so it’d be nice to get that. Still quite a bit of time to get into it.”
Nelson will get some quasi-game action on Friday afternoon when the Islanders hold an intrasquad scrimmage at UBS Arena.
Nelson, who will turn 31 on Oct. 15, two days after the Islanders’ season opener against the Panthers at UB, is coming off a career season. He notched career highs with 37 goals and 59 points in 72 games.
But the Islanders missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018. Nelson and the team’s veteran core remain intact, but Lane Lambert was promoted from associate coach to replace Barry Trotz.
“As a player, you always want to try and take steps,” said Nelson, entering the fourth season of a six-year, $36 million deal. “Team-wise, last year was a bit of an anomaly and some weird, unforeseen circumstances.”
Nelson’s game did flourish under Trotz’s watch as he finally established himself as a stalwart among the top six forwards. But Lambert, in his previous role, was a big part of the growth in Nelson’s game as well.
“I’ve had good chats with Laner when Barry was here just about my game and what he sees,” Nelson said. “He’s helped me as well, just as much as Barry has. He’s very detailed. As a player, he makes it pretty black-and-white to go out there and play, which I think is great. It gives you the freedom to go out there and know what you got to do and then let your instincts take over.”
Nelson has been skating with Anthony Beauvillier since training camp opened. Anders Lee also joined that line on Thursday.
Notes & quotes: Defenseman Sebastian Aho, who logged 16:43 against the Devils, did not skate on Thursday . . . Goalie Henrik Tikkanen, defensemen Trevor Cosgrove, Ryan MacKinnon, Connor McCarthy and Vincent Sevigny and forwards Collin Adams, Erik Brown, Blade Jenkins, Jeff Kubiak, Daylan Kuefler, Jimmy Lambert, Kyle MacLean, Matthew Maggion, Reece Newkirk and Chris Terry were reassigned to the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Goalie Tristan Lennox was returned to Saginaw (OHL) in the first cuts to the training camp roster . . . Kyle Palmieri joined Mathew Barzal’s line with Zach Parise and the fourth line of Casey Cizikas between Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck was reunited for the first time in camp.