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New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25: At #10, Adam Pelech rebounds from health scare

Kind of just relieved he's able to continue his career, you know?

Have a seat.
Have a seat.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Adam Pelech's season: Good reviews down in Bridgeport, enough to momentarily bump him ahead of the more heralded Ryan Pulock on the recall chart, then interrupted by a health scare that remained mysterious and even "could be career threatening" through much of mid-winter.

Thankfully, he made a recovery from what was later announced as a blood clot and thoracic outlet syndrome (requiring removal of part of a rib and some muscle, no sweat), and he appeared in the two-game weekend finale to the regular season. He didn't appear in the playoffs -- those two finale games came after missing 36 games plus a brief Bridgeport rehab -- but he's healthy and able to play, which is the important thing.

He'll be 22 in August, so his limited NHL experience so far is to be seen with caution, especially considering the long layoff. Always projected as a "smart and steady" defenseman, if he can translate that to a reliable (and cheap) third-pair or seventh defenseman, it's a good return on a third-round pick (65th) from 2012. It may be a risk to project him there to start the season, but ultimately you can envision Ryan Pulock making the top six with Pelech being the seventh man.

He lands at #10 on our Spring 2016 Top 25 Islanders Under 25.

How We Voted (and a Little Why)

King (CIL) Keith Mike B. McNally Garik Dominik Leboff Les
11 5 9
8 12
10 8 15

David King (CanadianIslesLifer):

A poor man's Hamonic? Pelech likes to play a physical style of game. He has the size, strength and pain tolerance required. He has good gap control, can skate at the pro-level and make that coveted first pass.

There's not a lot of offense to Pelech's game, but it wouldn't surprise if that developed. Pelech will only turn 22 this August. He did produce offensively during his final OHL seasons with the Erie Otters.

Pelech likely pans out as a third pairing or depth defenseman.


Some fans seem to love Pelech - I'm really not sure why. The numbers were bad last year, and it wasn't just playing with Strait. Unlike Mayfield, he's actually young (he'll be 22 next year), so improvement is very possible, and the hope his for him to be 7D.

Mike B.:

The kid had a promising if abbreviated audition. Thankfully his health seems to be sound. Isles could use him on the bottom pair without fear right now.

Les Mavus (HockeyGoalieEh):

People ranted and raved over Adam Pelech when he arrived in Brooklyn, though I'm not certain why. He was dead last out of all defensemen in every possession stat on a list of defenders that includes Brian Strait. His previous years in Bridgeport aren't exactly stupendous in their own right and he's coming off of quite the injury.

I gave him some benefit of the doubt as he was stuck playing along Scott Mayfield in Bridgeport as he's the modern day pylon that the NHL is getting away from. Ultimately Pelech just looks like the type of player that carves out an Andrew MacDonald or Kris Russell type roll that dumb general managers salivate over when he shouldn't have much value. His value can be maximized by giving him more ice time, but giving him more ice time probably equates to more losses.


Probably a bit too high, but I liked everything I saw out of Pelech. He appears the most NHL ready of the prospects at this time. Nothing flashy, but seemed to be a much larger version of Hickey. Hopefully medical issues are behind him. His progress eliminates the need for Strait/Zid and there's AHL flexibility.


People who go strictly by the numbers won't love Pelech. People who totally ignore numbers probably love him too much. But there is something to be said about a defenseman who makes the smart play and uses his body to defend his own zone.


Game's the same, just got more fierce.

So, readers...where do you rank him?

Previously in the Top 25 Under 25