In only his second NHL season, the New York Islanders threw a lot of responsibility on young defender Adam Pelech during the season’s most important moments.
The New York Islanders defense was not the most impressive group last season. Injuries had the pairs changing on a consistent basis and it’s a group that will likely look a lot different next season.
Two players from the defense go into the offseason as restricted free agents, Calvin de Haan and Adam Pelech. Pelech was given a lot of unexpected responsibility on the Islander’s blue line and had an above average season thanks to it.
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He had three goals and seven assists in only 44 games. The Islanders called him up to begin 2017 and he stayed with the team throughout the rest of the season. If anything, he was consistent.
Pelech played a major role for the Islanders down the stretch. Head Coach Doug Weight gave him the responsibility of being paired with Nick Leddy on the top pair when Travis Hamonic was sidelined.
When he was paired with Pelech, Leddy’s success in the plus/minus department went up during the second half.
He’s a guy that you always know what you’re going to get out of him. He doesn’t have much of an offensive game, Pelech mans his position well without taking too many risks. He is playing his best game when limiting the opponents scoring chances.
The 22-year-old has only appeared in 53 NHL games in his career and still has a lot of room for improvement. His Corsi-for percentage was 46.7%, Hamonic was the only Islanders defender with a worse percentage.
It should not be an issue for management to get Pelech a new contract for next season based on what he did this season. With Ryan Pulock and others in the shadow, Pelech will need to step up his play to have a sure spot in the 2017-2018 season.
Although he was thrown into the fire last season, he can certainly do better and earns a B for the season.
Final Grade: B