NY Islanders 2022-23 player report card: Adam Pelech struggled to lead the blue line
There's no doubt that the NY Islanders' most consistent defenseman is Adam Pelech. There's no doubt he's considered the Isles' No.1 defenseman, especially since the young Noah Dobson didn't exactly take that next step forward many believed he would this season. He was the same old Pelech until he was injured with what appeared to be a serious concussion and after returning from that injury, he just didn't appear to be the same player.
*Read our previously Published player report cards:
-Sebastian Aho | Josh Bailey | Mathew Barzal | Samuel Bolduc | Casey Cizikas | Cal Clutterbuck |Noah Dobson | Pierre Engvall | Hudson Fasching | Simon Holmstrom | Bo Horvat | Ross Johnston |Anders Lee | Matt Martin | Scott Mayfield | Brock Nelson | J.G. Pageau | Kyle Palmieri | Zach Parise
NY Islanders 2022-23 player report card: Adam Pelech
It's tough to criticize Pelech knowing that he suffered a serious injury, but here we go. Pelech is typically a sound defensive defenseman that utilizes putting himself in a good position in order to make sure he's not getting beat by his opponents, and an accurate and active stick allows him to defend well and strip plenty of pucks. He's not overly physical but will be when he needs to be. As a result, he doesn't pinch too often, and his simple game that doesn't show much, if any panic makes him an incredibly defensive defenseman for the Islanders.
However, post-injury, some of the things that make Pelech the most effective seemingly went out the window. He wound up pinching too high in zones allowing opponents behind him, losing puck battles, and his stick wasn't as active and when it was, he was taking penalties. His mental lapses showed in the playoffs too, when turned the puck over to the Carolina Hurricanes forward Derek Stepan who fed Paul Statsny and he scored on Ilya Sorokin during the Game 6 overtime to clinch the first-round series.
Pelech finished the regular season with six goals and 15 assists for 21 points, a seven-point decline from last season's point total, however in 17 fewer games. Because Pelech is the Islanders No.1 defenseman and he struggled to put it all together, especially when it mattered most, Pelech gets a C- for 2022-23.