The New York Islanders suffered a huge blow on Friday. Top-pair defenseman Adam Pelech will be out for the remainder of the season.
Pelech had been playing on the Islanders’ top defensive pairing this season. He ranks second on the team in ice time behind only his partner Ryan Pulock.
Pelech had already set a career-high for giveaways in a season this year in only 38 games. He only had nine points through 38 games this season. That’s the worst among the Islanders’ defensemen.
With Pelech out for the remainder of the season, rookie defenseman Noah Dobson will see more playing time. The former first-round pick has struggled mightily in his short stints with the team. That said, his upside is tremendous and at only 19-years-old there’s no telling how good he can be by the end of the year.
Dobson will likely slot in on the bottom defensive pair. Nick Leddy could potentially join Pulock on the top pair. A well-earned promotion for the veteran defenseman.
Leddy has 17 points in 32 games this year. He’s not as physical as Pelech, but his skill will improve the offensive output of the top defensive pair.
If the Islanders are going to make a long run in the playoffs, it’s going to come down to their defense. The offense has proved it can score. Now the defense has to show it can survive without one of its top defensemen.