We have heard it a million times that the trade deadline and free agency is often when you see general managers lose their minds. This free agency period has been no exception with some of the big money deals we have seen given out to defensemen. Lou Lamoriello, as he often does, moved in silence and locked up one half of his top defensive pair to an incredibly team friendly deal.
On Friday the Islanders and Adam Pelech agreed to an 8 year 46 million dollar extension which breaks down to $5.75M AAV. Pelech isn’t the typical defenseman that will get all the glory and headlines but he has become an integral part of Barry Trotz’s Islanders. The pairing of Ryan Pulock and Pelech has become one of the best shutdown pairs throughout the NHL and having Pelech locked in until he’s 34 gives Isles fans peace of mind they haven’t had in a long time.
Pelech will never blow you away with his offensive production but his steadiness defensively allows Ryan Pulock to play more of an offensive minded game. The best thing about the Pelech extension from an Islanders standpoint is that the club is still able to maintain cap flexibility to extend the likes of Pulock and Beauvillier who are absolutely vital to the latest incarnation of the Islanders.
When you see some of the deals that have been handed out this summer it’s hard not to commend Lou for locking in one of his teams cornerstone pieces for under market value. Also when considering the all around package that Pelech brings to his game and the team, the deal is a downright steal for the Islanders. When comparing to both Seth Jones and Darnell Nurse who were handed massive contracts you can see where Pelech leads the pack:
|Player||CF%||FF%||SF%||GF%||xGF%||SCF%||HDCF%||HDGF%||MDCF%||MDGF%||LDCF%||LDGF%||On-Ice SH%||On-Ice SV%||PDO|
Considering Pelech’s game as a defenseman is the more traditional defensive role, one who takes a quick glance at the overall stats could say he lags behind the other 2. For a defenseman who does not get top powerplay or heavy minutes on the advantage, his offensive output is more than adequate for his game. Where he does stands out though is in the above categories where he leads both defenseman in all advanced stats to round out his overall game.
After the Seth Jones and Darnell Nurse extensions that both the Hawks and Oilers will likely regret towards the backend, you can live with Pelech at his new contract of $5.75 when he’s 32, 33, and 34. The Pelech contract honestly mirrors that of Duncan Keith’s extension that allowed the Hawks to distribute money elsewhere throughout the lineup and helped them win three Cups. With Pelech now in the fold for the next 8 seasons Lou can turn his sights to adding another scoring winger to play on Barzal’s wing that help add more offense to help balance out this defensive first roster.
If the Islanders wind up winning the Cup within the next few years then Isles fans can thank not only Lou Lamoriello but Adam Pelech for putting the team’s best interests above his own.Embed from Getty Images
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