During the 2014 IIHF World Championships Colin McDonald and Brock Nelson were teammates with fellow Americans Craig Smith and Seth Jones, who along with the rest of the Nashville Predators will play the Islanders Thursday night. The United States lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament to the Czech Republic last may, but Nelson and McDonald both played well for the states.
"They're actually great players," Jones said about his experience playing with McDonald and Nelson. "We were a young team over there, so everyone got a lot of opportunities. They have a lot skill. Obviously they're doing well this year as well in the NHL. I'm happy for them."
McDonald has made a big impact on the Isles since being reinserted into the lineup. He has five points (two goals, three assists) in six games since being called up on an emergency basis. Nelson -- despite recently snapping an 18-game goals drought -- has also been an import piece of the Isles roster all season long.
Jones was very complimentary to the young Islander forward's game.
"He does it all," Jones said about Nelson. "He can be a power forward, but is also a skilled guy. He makes a lot of plays, he's got a great shot. We've played on the same power play unit, so obviously he has great vision and he can put the puck in the back of the net."
McDonald and Nelson know first hand how dangerous Jones and Smith can be and what the Isles will be up against when both players are on the ice. Smith has 31 points (17 goals, 14 assists) this season and Jones has 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in his second NHL season.
"They’re both great players," Nelson explained. "I played on a line with Craig. Good guy and he has a lot of skill, so they have a lot of good forwards and the same thing with Seth. He’s a great player. He eats up some minutes in the back end. He’s a solid player that has some offensive upside.”