For three years in a row, we’ve had the pleasure of watching Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock up top for the New York Islanders. Barry Trotz has done a tremendous job with this team, and one of his best accomplishments has been making the Islanders’ top-pair an elite-level unit.
Finally, this seemed to be like the year that they got the recognition that they deserved from the NHL pundits. Well today on NHL Network, Mike Rupp was talking about the Islanders and he had this to say about their top pair:
Some high praise from Rupp. It’s truly special what these guys do night in and night out when it comes to shutting down opponents. Here’s some of their numbers at 5v5 according to Natural Stat Trick:
Adam Pelech is one of the best defensive defensemen in the entire league. Sure, the point production might not be there, his career-high in points is 21 but he makes up for it with his consistent play in his own zone and honestly, his underlying offensive numbers are pretty solid.
He was 92nd percentile at even-strength offense and 62nd percentile in G/60. As for Pulock, he was on somewhat of a down year offensively at least. He only scored two goals and shot at an almost unfathomable 1.7 percent.
The difference in the Isles play with Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech on the ice vs without is truly remarkable. Heck, we saw what happened in the regular season when Adam Pelech went down with an injury two years ago.
When this team is healthy, we’ve seen them do big things. Mike Ruff isn’t the only one who is seeing it, the rest of the league is catching on too and it’s a thing of beauty.