NY Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech can't seem to catch a break this season

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages

Entering this season, the New York Islanders were hoping to see Adam Pelech regain his form as one of the best defensive defensemen in the league. Though he has sneaky offensive skills, Pelech is at his best when he isn't getting noticed, making smart, effortless plays in his own zone.

Unfortunately, Pelech has been unable to find the form that made him one of the better defensive defensemen in the league from 2019-22, earning him a long-term extension. Injuries are part of the game, but Pelech seems especially snake-bitten in recent seasons.

No one on the team has been quite as bruised and bandaged as the 2021-22 All-Star. Injuries seem to find him, and Monday night's game in Dallas was the latest example. Pelech left the bench with 2:29 left in the third period after taking a friendly-fire shot from Mike Riley to the ear. He returned to the bench and took the ice in overtime, but this was just the latest in a string of bad luck.

It started on Nov. 4th when he suffered a lower-body injury during the Isles '4-3 OT loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Pelech was able to play the next game on Nov. 7th but suffered yet another lower-body injury, missing two games against the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals on November 9th and 11th, respectively. Missing two games, Pelech came back to play five consecutive games before his bad luck struck yet again.

The game versus the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 24 is one Islanders fans remember vividly. They lost Sebastian Aho and Pelech early in the first period and had to rely on Noah Dobson and the rest of the other three defensemen the rest of the way. Against all odds, they came away with an inspiring 5-3 win. After the game, Pelech was and was put on LTIR with a wrist injury.

After missing 20 games, he returned to action on Jan. 9th. He was starting to turn a corner until, on Jan. 25 against the Montreal Canadiens, he took an illegal elbow to the head by Brendan Gallagher, which resulted in a five-game suspension. Fortunately, the upcoming bye week and All-Star game allowed Pelech to miss only one game while he recovered.

Coming out of the break, Pelech was paired with long-time teammate Ryan Pulock, and the team won two straight but then dropped the next three (0-1-2). Desperately needing a win after the late game meltdown against the Rangers, Pelech scored his first goal of the season and his first career overtime goal on Feb. 20 in the Isles' 5-4 OT win against the Penguins.

Missing Pelech and other defensemen for extended periods this season has taken a toll on the Islanders blueline, which has rarely been able to dress their top six defensemen for a prolonged stretch. Some consistency and continuity on the backend are needed for this team to put it all together down the stretch. As the team adopts head coach Patrick Roy's new style, Pelech and the rest of the defensemen are focused on limiting high-danger chances and keeping the shots allowed down. With only 24 games remaining in the season, the Islanders are hoping that Pelech and the rest of the D can scrape a little bit of luck out and finish off the season strong.