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Islanders: Celebrate Adam Pelech’s Birthday With Shutdown Defense

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 16: Adam Pelech #3 of the New York Islanders handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 16, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 16: Adam Pelech #3 of the New York Islanders handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 16, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
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For the next eight years, Adam Pelech will be gracing the New York Islanders and their fans with his defensive brilliance. Earlier this month, Pelech agreed to an eight-year $46 million extension with the team.

His $5.75 million salary may seem like a lot for someone who only has a career-high of 21 points but that doesn’t tell the full story. For the last three years, Pelech has been one of the best shutdown defensemen in the league.

According to data from JFresh Hockey, Adam Pelech is 99th percentile in even-strength defense going up against 83rd percentile quality of competition.

What does this mean? Essentially, he’s really good at shutting down opposing team’s big star players. We’ve seen against Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington, and at times Tampa Bay as well on the biggest stage in the playoffs.

Well today, Pelech turns 27 years old. Back in 2012, Garth Snow found Pelech in the third round of the 2012 draft. Garth went all d-men in 2012 and Pelech, the 65th overall pick, was the only one who panned out.

He made his NHL debut during the 2015-2016 season playing in nine games. He followed that up with 44 the next year and was a surprise protection in the 2017 expansion draft. He was essentially a seventh defenseman why protect him?

Well, it took until Barry Trotz’s arrival but Pelech has blossomed into an elite-level defensive defenseman. Plus, as the underlying numbers show, the offense has a chance of catching up to his defensive play.

In celebration of his birthday, I can only think of one appropriate way to spend it and it’s thanks to bathtubjake on YouTube. Here’s 38 minutes of Adam Pelech playing shutdown defense:

If you’re a young hockey player trying to learn the game from the blue line, watch this masterclass of defending from Mr. Adam Pelech. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Happy birthday Adam Pelech, as the team learned in 2019-2020 they wouldn’t be able to do it without you, and boy are we glad you’re here for the foreseeable future.

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