The “Pelech for top defensive pair” experiment just isn’t working. Maybe it could, eventually, but at the moment it isn’t. It’s time to restore Nick Leddy to the top of the defensive lineup.
Last season Leddy and Pulock spent a good portion of the season together (116 minutes). In that time they weren’t great defensively, but then again that was the norm for the Islanders last season.
With a better defensive structure around him, Nick Leddy should be much better than he was last season. Ryan Pulock whos still learning but making huge strides every time he hits the ice will make things easier on Leddy.
Hickey-Boychuk would act as the steady hand. Nothing fancy, just a few guys that can be fundamentally dependable on the ice. They should be able to adhere to Trotz’s plan.
Pelech gets bumped to the third pair with Scott Mayfield. He was efficient there last season. There’s no reason that he should make the leap up to the top pair when he looks comfortable where he is.
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Looking at this Islanders defensive pairings they might just need to make a trade. Boychuk is still a good defender but his role as the third pairing seemed to suit him to start the season. They might just have to unload one in order to make room for Devon Toews sooner rather than later.