Islanders: Expected D-Pairings With Adam Pelech’s Return
By Matt O'Leary
With Adam Pelech expected to be good to go for the playoffs, here’s what you can expect from the New York Islanders defensive pairings.
This week, we received some good news that Adam Pelech will be good to go for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, whenever that might be. Pelech last played on December 31, at which point the Islanders were 25-10-3 with the third-most points in the conference and fourth in the entire NHL.
Since that time, the Isles are 10-13-7, so clearly Pelech’s impact was profound on this team. The Islanders, who at the time assumed Pelech was gone for the year (pre-corona) traded for Andy Greene.
In 10 games, Greene has three points and has averaged 16:32 of ice time per night, essentially third pair minutes. With the return of Pelech, there’s been some debate on who plays and who sits but it seems pretty obvious to me.
When the season returns, and if Pelech is 100% cleared, the d-pairings should be as followed: Pelech – Pulock, Toews – Mayfield, Leddy – Boychuk.
The Pelech and Pulock pair was the best pairing for the Islanders all year so their reunion is a given. On pair number two, we see Toews and Mayfield sticking together.
I’ve seen some make the case that Greene should play over Mayfield but frankly I don’t see it. Mayfield has played nearly 20 minutes per night (19:57) for this team this year and has a better CF%, SCF%, and xGF% than Greene.
Leddy and Boychuk may not be the 2015 version of themselves but if they’re your third pair you’re fairly well off on the blue line. Andy Greene will act as the seventh d-man, if there’s an injury he’ll play, if not then the Isles will role out the unit that got them to be a top-five team in the league earlier this year.
As for Noah Dobson, there’s a very very slim chance that he seems any ice time. In his 34 games this season, he finished with over 15 minutes of ice time in just 11 of those games. The Islanders clearly don’t trust him yet, which is fine they really don’t have to, so only expect to see him if there are two injuries to the blue line.
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You should be excited when taking a look at the Islanders d-core, if Andy Greene – Noah Dobson are your scratch pair you have pretty good depth at the position. Now, if only the forwards had that kind of depth.