New York Islanders: Adam Pelech Expectations For 2019-2020
After a slow start to 2018-2019, Adam Pelech came on strong for the New York Islanders down the stretch and began to play big minutes.
It was a strange year for Adam Pelech last year. The New York Islanders were expecting him to be a big part of the everyday lineup for the second year in a row, and it didn’t start off too hot for him in 2018-2019.
He started off playing a ton of minutes on the top pair. Over 19 in the first game and over 21 in the next two games. Through the first four games of the year, Pelech was a -3 and really didn’t look like he could handle the bigger role.
Eventually, his playing time was reduced significantly. There was a four-game stretch in December when he was playing under 14 minutes a night, which is virtually nothing for a defenseman. That’s around the time when Devon Toews got the call-up.
When Toews was called up, the assumption was Pelech would eventually go to the scratchpad and the three lefties would be Nick Leddy, Thomas Hickey, and Devon Toews. Luckily by the time February came around, Pelech was much better and earned himself a regular spot in the lineup.
He was regularly up around 20 minutes per night and the production started to come back as well. Pelech ended up finishing with 21 points (5 goals, 16 assists) while averaging 18:38 per night.
In 2019-2020 the expectation is that he can play on the top-pair with Ryan Pulock. The Isles have made it very known that Pulock is now their number one d-man and Pelech will be playing alongside him.
That being said, we should see him ice time increase this year. He’ll likely average around 19:30 per night. Pelech doesn’t get to play on the power play, like Pulock, so it would be hard to see him average over 20 minutes although some nights he may top it.
Points wise, we might see a small increase but nothing more than 25 points in a season. He’s not a scoring defenseman his job is to be more defensive-minded while Ryan Pulock has the flexibility to pinch in.
I’ll say we see 24 points (4 goals, 20 assists) from Pelech this year. Pelech is on a team-friendly $1.6 million deal for the next two years and he’s an RFA at the end of that deal. The Isles lucked out with that one.