NY Islanders 2022-23 Player Preview: Adam Pelech

2022 NHL All-Star Skills
2022 NHL All-Star Skills / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Just when you thought Adam Pelech couldn't be any better, he takes another step forward in solidifying himself as one of the better defensemen in the NHL. Pelech represented the NY Islanders at the 2022 All-Star game, his first appearance in his career. Largely overlooked league-wide, Pelech is one of the best defensive defensemen in the NHL and last season he added a little more to his repertoire.

After the abbreviated 2020-21 season, Pelech was rewarded with a long-term, eight-year extension that carries an AAV of $5.75 million. The Ontario, Canada natives contract is largely viewed as a bargain as one-half of the Islanders' top pair. His partner, Ryan Pulock, is also seen as having a bargain contract signed for the next eight years with an AAV of $6.15 million. Together, the two make for the Islanders' top defensive unit for under $12 million in total.

Pelech ended the 2021-22 season with a career-high 28 points in the form of three goals and 25 assists in 78 games. He was never spoken about as a defenseman who is going to pile up points, however, as the season's roll on he's become more comfortable with the puck on his stick. He doesn't lead breakout rushes or quarterback a power play, but he's consistently in the right place at the right time which helps him both offensively and defensively, and his underrated shot finds its way through traffic.

It's Pelech's defense, however, that really gets people talking. When he's on the ice, the puck is rarely going in his own net and he's helping push play to the other side of the ice. Normally, +/- isn't the greatest indicator of a player's play on the ice, but the Islanders as a whole were a -2 last season while Pelech individually was a +20. That's pretty indicative of how the ice tilts with Pelech on the ice.

Going into his age-28 season, Pelech heads into training camp arguably as the Islanders' No.1 defenseman. He could see some competition from Noah Dobson or even Pulock if he can return to his 2019-20 form, however, the Islanders' blue line is pretty solid 1-5 with Pelech leading the way. Pelech projects on the top pair this season and even if he didn't record a single point, he will surely make up for it with his defense. 20 points is a reasonable benchmark but with the time on ice he'll receive, it shouldn't come as a surprise to see him eclipse 30.

Read more season previews: Sebastian Aho Josh Bailey | Mathew Barzal | Anthony Beauvillier | Kieffer Bellows | Cal Clutterbuck | Noah Dobson | Ross JohnstonAnders Lee | Matt Martin | Scott Mayfield | Brock Nelson | J.G. Pageau | Kyle Palmieri | Zach Parise