I’ve had the pleasure to see Danny Nelson play live more than a few times this season with his NTDP teammates. It’s always been a good experience, and his game has matured throughout the season. At the Five Nations tournament, he had five points in four games. The usual players got the headlines, but I noticed how important he was, and at that point, he was on my list.
“I felt great. Me and my linemates were going well. You have to stay in these games and get ready for the next one,” said Nelson.
One gift that Nelson has, as a bigger guy, is a fast release on his wrist shot. So not only is it quick, but there’s some force behind it.
“I work on it a lot during the summer. I really like it and try and develop it,” Nelson answered. “It’s a big part of my game that I keep trying to develop. It helps to have a quick release to shoot on the goalies when they’re not ready.”
Once again, that was on display at the U18 Men’s World Championships. Nelson had a couple of clutch goals, one in the gold medal game against Sweden that started the comeback and eventual win. That goal was a nice tip in goal in front of the net. At 6’3” and already 203 pounds, he’s hard to handle. He had four goals and seven points in seven games.
Sometimes he mixes his shots up, and he might try an occasional backhand.
“Usually, I stick to the forehand, but sometimes I’ll mix in the backhand if I have time to,” Nelson revealed.
Notre Dame is where he’ll play his college hockey. He has strong reasons why he picked that program.
“Definitely the culture there. I wanted to go there and help them win a National Championship,” Nelson stated. “I feel like we have a good group going in there. With the team, they put together. I feel they have a good shot at it.
“I probably know five guys. There are two guys there from my hometown in Minnesota. They are older than me. It’s Justin and Trevor Janicke. I always knew them, and my brother was friends with them. My brother, Henry is going there. That’s a big part of my decision. Having him there will be fun. He’s a defenseman.”
Nelson knows he’s performing well in his draft year.
“It’s gone well. It started a little slow. I’m playing the game I want to play. I just have to keep working at it.”
Over the summer, he worked on his skating among other things.
“I worked on my speed. Quicker jump. Building up my power,” Nelson stated.
In his spare time, Nelson plays golf against his teammates, and he talks about his ranking.
“I am in the top five. Leonard is #1,” he divulged.
Nelson has a chance to sneak into the first round. He can play center or on the wing. My next rankings may reflect that. He’s a power forward who will play a complete game and isn’t just a scorer.