Adam Pelech was voted to his first All-Star appearance in the 2021-22 season and rightfully so. Noah Dobson had a delightful, half-expected breakout season, but there's a reason Pelech is still the New York Islanders' No.1 defenseman. Pelech had a career year in the second season of his eight-year contract proving the Islanders were right to commit to him long-term.
Defense: Sebastian Aho|Zdeno Chara|Noah Dobson|Scott Mayfield
Forwards: Josh Bailey|Mathew Barzal|Anthony Beauvillier|Kieffer Bellows|Casey Cizikas|Cal Clutterbuck|Anders Lee|Brock Nelson|Matt Martin|Kyle Palmieri|Jean-Gabriel Pageau|Zach Parise|Oliver Wahlstrom
Team Level: New York Islanders
Islanders 2021-22 report card: Adam Pelech
It was a career-high season in terms of points for Pelech who tallied 28 points (three goals, 25 assists) in 78 games. 10 of his 25 assists were primary making the remaining 15 secondary assists. That doesn't mean he collected points by coincidence, however. Pelech led all Islanders skaters with a 50.14 CF% at 5on5 which means he more often than not contributed in the offensive zone likely because he's also so good at making sure the puck moves out of his own end (more on that later).
Pelech's role isn't meant to be an offensive point collector but when you're on the ice more often than most Islander defensemen, it's bound to happen anyway. The good news is he's collecting points as a result of his sneaky good offensive ability. For the career year, Pelech gets an A.
P.S. His backhand sauce that helped contribute to the Metropolitan Division winning the All-Star festivities was pretty:
What else is there to say about Pelech's defense that hasn't been said already? He's one of the best, if not the best in his own end at ensuring the opposition doesn't score. Pelech lead all Islander defenseman in relative expected goals against per 60 minutes at 5on5 at -0.3. That's pretty fantastic considering that the percentage of his zone starts in the defensive zone is more than the other two zones at an even 18%.
Normally plus/minus is a garbage stat. However, in this rare case, it's pretty indicative of how good Pelech is. The Islanders collectively were a -2 on the season scoring 229 goals and surrendering 231. Pelech led the Islanders in the plus/minus category at +20. The next best skater went +8, so it's pretty clear that when Pelech is on the ice things are going well much more often than not. For his exceptional defense, Pelech gets an A+.
Impact vs. Reliance: A-
Pelech received the second-most TOI/GP this season, falling just short of the most by just 10 seconds. What's most impressive about that is Pelech doesn't receive any power-play time whereas Dobson who leads the team in the category, does.
The counterpoint to that argument is that Pelech is on the penalty kill most of the time when the Islanders are short a man. However, the Islanders are pretty disciplined with just 729 PIMs, 15th overall in the NHL. For contract purposes, the Nashville Predators led the NHL with 1,035 PIMs and the Tampa Bay Lightning were second with 901.
Pelech's 0.56 game score is the highest of all Islander defensemen and just exceeds the expectation of his reliance via TOI/GP. For that, Pelech receives an A-.
Final Grade: A
It was an excellent year for the All-Star and a good showing of why the Islanders have Pelech locked up for the next six years.