Islanders’ Nelson on life after Tavares: We have to pick ourselves back up

The Islanders faithful find themselves in mourning, with long-time franchise centrepiece John Tavares now the off-season prize of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But while fans on Long Island look to balance resentment towards their former captain with anger at the organization for letting it get to this point, the rest of the names on the roster have a much bigger task on their hands: mapping out a path to on-ice success in No. 91’s absence.

Brock Nelson, who’s spent the past five seasons alongside Tavares in an Islanders uniform, says he’s well-aware 2018-19 will have a far different feel than the club’s last go-round. But he doesn’t believe the club is without any hope heading into next season.

“You can go on and on about how tough it is [without Tavares], but I think the future’s still bright,” said Nelson to’s Jessi Pearce on Thursday. “We have one of the best players in the league with [Mathew] Barzal. He came in right away and won the Calder so that’s a guy right away you look at [who] could even take a bigger step forward and lead us even more than he did last year, so we can lean on guys like that.”

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