New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25: Adam Pelech, #15

Tall and lanky and enjoyably mean. - Bruce Bennett

At the risk of channeling Maloney, we've got the better Pelech.

While Adam Pelech (2012, 3rd round, 65th overall) matched Chris Campoli as the only OHL Erie defenseman to record 50 points in a season, it's not his offense that has some quietly believing Pelech has an NHL future.

Rather, it's his intelligence in defensive coverage, while the offensive production is a welcome bonus.

Pelech signed his entry level contract with the Islanders earlier this spring, which means we can expect a minimum of three years of watching whether he can fight it out with and rise above the other blueline prospects in the system.

That fight shall begin at Bridgeport this fall. Here is how we ranked him on our individual lists, which by average placed him 15th among Islanders under 25 years old:

CIL Keith Mike B. Mark Mike L. Chris Dom
14 12 14 13 22 15 15

Here is what some of our voters had to say:

Chris:

Another year, another step forward in Pelech's game. Good size and good instincts are his best assets, but Pelech has shown continued offensive growth at the Junior level.

Some WJC time and cutting his penalties taken in half were two promising things to take out of his 13-14 season. Not much to dislike in his career so far. Next stop, the pros...

Mike B., bordering on Moulson-Quick-In-Law territory:

Relatively unheralded, and yet he's productive and he crushes people. Shows well in international play, too. Finally, he's an alternate captain for his juniors team.

His uncle is recently-deposed Vancouver GM Mike Gillis. One of his brothers, Matt Pelech, is a San Jose Shark. I think stuff like that is neat.

Keith:

Like that he keeps getting selected for team Canada WJC's. Another who appears to have exceded his draft slot. Big, mean, relatively mobile, and put up more points than Reinhart. (Who didn't though, right?) Also played with McDavid, so maybe he'll sign here as a UFA or something. Yeah.

CIL:

Over-shadowed by top tier D-prospects Reinhart, Pulock and Pokka, Pelech doesn't get a lot of hype from Islanders fans and media, but he could very well be the best out of the next tier of D prospects. Pelech has size, is physical, mean and solid defensively. He rose dramatically up the CHL depth charts after being drafted in 2012.

Pelech was also selected by team Canada's WJC team ahead of several Dmen drafted before him, including high profile 1st round picks. Having a late birthday, Pelech is only about six months older than other top D prospects like Seth Jones. In fact, had Pelech been born 6 weeks later, he wouldn't have been eligible for the 2012 Draft. For the last two seasons, Pelech has literally been his team's D.

Last season, the Otters were one of the better offensive teams led by Conner McDavid. But the season prior, they were the worst team in the OHL. Pelech's play was consistent throughout both years, hence, the recognition by Team Canada, His team's success is partially b/c of Pelech, and not the other way around. Pelech's work ethic makes him the kind of player coaches like. All said, he's a pretty safe bet to pan out as a solid, shut down 3rd pairing D, who just may turn out to be a bit more if he can bring some offense at the NHL level.

Pelech fits the more recent Isles defense draft mold of bigger bodies with some overall hockey skills, as opposed to the undersized puck-movers of yesteryear.

He is a nephew to former NHL GM and agent Mike Gillis, and has two brothers in the pros, Mike and Calgary's 2005 1st-round pick Matt. Will he be the best one?

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