It’s been a quiet offseason for the Islanders thus far, with the only excitement being a list of UFAs who probably have signed for the Isles but we don’t exactly know yet. We had a little bit of movement with Adam Pelech’s arbitration date announced for August 11, but Lou Lamoriello made sure we wouldn’t need that...
Instead, this morning, the team announced that they had signed Pelech to an eight year deal. Elliotte Friedman revealed that the AAV is a very team-friendly $5.75m.
Pelech isn’t a flashy offensive guy, which is maybe why he avoided some of the pricier valuations that guys like Cale Makar, Seth Jones, and Zach Werenski (and allegedly Darnell Nurse) got. His career high is 21 points in the 18-19 season.
What he lacks in offense, we know he makes up for in defense, and that defensive prowess has earned him praise and even some minor Norris buzz.
Adam Pelech, signed 8x$5.75M by NYI, is one of the league's top shutdown defencemen who is more responsible than anyone else for the Isles' analytical glowup since the 2020 bubble. #Isles pic.twitter.com/ghSDuCqqbA— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) August 6, 2021
@FriedgeHNIC on #NoSleepTillBelmont with @StapeAthletic says Adam Pelech is the best player who he’s watched from afar.— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) July 29, 2021
“Pelech is the guy. I didn’t put him on my Norris ballot this year, but as I watched the playoffs more and more, I missed not putting him on.”
The Islanders are a better team with Pelech on the ice than off it, and getting him signed to a team friendly deal that leaves them with about $12m in cap space (plus the extra $6m after Johnny Boychuk goes on LTIR) sets the Islanders up to build off two consecutive appearances in the conference finals.
They still need to sign RFAs Anthony Beauvillier and Ilya Sorokin, and confirm the likely signings of UFAs Kyle Palmieri, Casey Cizikas, and Zach Parise, but it was clear that Pelech would be the first domino to fall before Lou would reveal how much cap space he had hanging around.
It’s been an interesting journey for Pelech, from a much-maligned young defender by most of LHH, to a surprise protection in the Vegas expansion draft, to a key top pairing defender. This eight year deal will lock Pelech in as an Islander until he’s 35, and it’s clear that he and the rest of the team believe in what the Islanders are building towards here.
Adam Pelech on his new deal: "This is where I want to be, I think all the guys feel the same way. They know there's something special here." #Isles— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) August 6, 2021
#Isles Adam Pelech: "I'm thrilled to be a New York Islander for eight more years. The negotiations were smooth, couldn't be happier with the result."— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) August 6, 2021
Seth Jones, along with many other defensemen, signed huge deals this offseason. Adam Pelech was not focusing on that.— David Lazar (@davidlazar100) August 6, 2021
"That didn't have any effect on our negotiations at all."
It’s a special time to be a fan of the Islanders, and hearing that the players think it’s special, too, just adds to the excitement of locking up a key piece of the team long-term. There’s still moves to be made, especially finding a replacement for Nick Leddy, but the Isles are building to win now and the Pelech deal helps them get one step closer to lifting the Stanley Cup.
And while we’re celebrating Pelech’s extension, here’s a 16 minute video put together by our own Spizzwolf detailing what #3 brings to the Islanders: