Filling in for a team's best defenseman is not the most comfortable task, but when Adam Pelech went down to injury for the NY Islanders, that's the exact role Parker Wotherspoon stepped into. It was a bit of a replacement by committee for the month-and-a-half the Isles were without Pelech, with Wotherspoon receiving his call-up just before Christmas, as the team was beginning to hit its stride.
*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 | Alexander Romanov | Ryan Pulock |Ilya Sorokin|Semyon Varlamov
NY Islanders 2022-23 report card: Parker Wotherspoon
Without their top defenseman and Robin Salo struggling to gain a stranglehold on his game, Lou Lamoriello turned his sights to Wotherspoon, earning his first call-up to the NHL. While Salo has more upside in his offensive game, the Isles were looking to replace their top defensive defenseman, not necessarily generate more offense. Wotherspoon, who thinks with a defense-first mentality, fit seamlessly into the defensive group.
Wotherspoon played in 12 of the 14 games between the time he was called up and Pelech's return, registering his first career point as he was credited with an assist on a JG Pageau goal against the Vancouver Canucks. Wotherspoon averaged just under 15 minutes of ice time during his stint with the Isles and remained with the team as a healthy scratch for the duration of the season. He wouldn't see the ice again as the team turned to Samuel Bolduc as the seventh defenseman.
Wotherspoon is set to become a free agent on July 1 and could work out a two-way contract to remain with the Islanders.
It's difficult to fairly grade Wotherspoon on his season as he only appeared in 12 games and was put in a difficult position for anyone to succeed. Though he ultimately lost his place in the lineup when the team was looking for an offensive jolt to the blue line, Wotherspoon did all that was asked of him, earning himself a C+ for his 2022-23 season.