In his first full NHL season, Adam Pelech impressed for the New York Islanders as his role was elevated when several injuries occurred.
The move to protect Adam Pelech from the Vegas Golden Knights was a suspicious one at the time considering the 23-year-old only played 53 NHL games but it was clear the New York Islanders were high on him.
Although the Islanders did have a trade in place with Vegas which involved by the Golden Knights selecting goaltender J-F Berube, they still left the likes of Josh Bailey, Ryan Strome, and Calvin de Haan unprotected over Pelech.
On July 24, his four-year contract extension continued to prove how much potential the Isles saw in Pelech.
Pelech played in 78 games this past season, missing the other four with an injury. Over those 78 games, he had three goals and 19 points with a plus-seven rating, good for the third-best on the team.
Pelech also finished the season with 100 hits, seventh on the team in that category and third amongst defensemen.
Most importantly, Pelech led the team with 142 blocked shots, 30 more than the next player—Johnny Boychuk.
Even though it was the worst penalty-kill in the NHL at 73.2 percent, Pelech led all Islanders in blocks (28) and ice-time while shorthanded (176:27).
The Toronto native led all Isles defensemen with 32 takeaways, seven more than Ryan Pulock who ranks second in that category.
On October 24, Pelech had three assists (all primary) in a 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes as he became the youngest Islander defenseman to record three assists in a game since Kenny Jonsson.
Pelech’s first goal of the season came in a 5-4 overtime win on Jan. 15 over the Montreal Canadiens as a pass by Mathew Barzal intended for Anthony Beauvillier was blocked by Victor Mete and came right to Pelech who wired it home.
In his 100th NHL game, Pelech scored his second goal of the season and the only goal of the game for the Islanders in a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on January 30.
His third and final goal of the season was his first career game-winning goal as he scored the team’s second goal in a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pelech played most of the season in a top-four role. He started the season playing with Calvin de Haan primarily but de Haan’s season ended prematurely in December and from that point on Pelech’s defense partner changed on a nightly basis.
For his first full NHL season, Pelech didn’t do too bad. Don’t forget he’s only 23. He showed a lot of poise on the back-end and his physicality made him tough to get around. From an offensive standpoint, he was steady when holding the blue-line. A few of his assists came from waiting for a shooting lane and then taking a shot that got deflected on its way in.