Is Adam Pelech the Islanders Cornerstone Defender?

This past season, Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock were the top defensive pair.  When Adam Pelech went down, he injured his Achilles tendon in a game against the Devils on January 2nd.  The team doctors expected Pelech to miss the remainder of the season.  The Islanders took a toll on defense and would have likely missed the playoffs if it weren’t for the season pause.  When hockey returned in late July, he was ready and helped the Islanders make a run deep into the playoffs.  However, Pelech was not on the starting lineup the last game of the season due to injury meaning he would be out indefinitely for the remainder of the playoffs.  Unfortunately, the Islanders lost game six and the series.  If he stayed healthy throughout the regular season and the playoffs could the team reach the Stanley Cup?

Pelech’s On-Ice Impact

There is no question that the Islanders have a better record when Pelech is on the ice. So if Pelech is a key to Islanders’ success, is he a cornerstone for this team?  The Islanders are evidently not the same without him. Trotz needs him as a top defender.  So what makes Pelech so valuable to this team?  In 38 regular-season games, he only had one goal and eight assists.  Pelech is obviously not an offensive contributor.  However, his defensive awareness is spectacular.  Pelech is always in the right spot.  Whether it is blocking shots, taking away a passing lane, or recovering a puck along the boards he seems to always know exactly what to do.  For example, in the playoffs against the leagues’ best, he limited high-danger scoring chances when on the ice like no other defensemen.  Therefore, when he’s on the ice the defense is impeccable.

Looking Ahead

After witnessing the necessity of Pelech’s presence, is he going to be a top d-man for years to come?    He is only 26 years old right now.  Meaning, he has many more years to skate and be a presence considering, he is still in his prime.  Trotz relies on Pelech every game and when hurt, the Islanders were not themselves.  Can the Isles accomplish great things if Pelech stays healthy?  Only time will tell but he is a key part of the Isles and it will remain that way for years to come.

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