It’s just an early step in the recovery process for Adam Pelech. But the injured stalwart defenseman has resumed skating on his own.
Coach Lane Lambert reported before the Islanders faced the Kings at UBS Arena on Saturday night that Pelech, on long-term injured reserve with an upper-body issue, went on the ice for the first time on Friday.
Pelech, who missed his seventh game after being injured on Nov. 25 in Ottawa, is not eligible to be activated until Dec. 19. The Islanders are now also without Pelech’s one-time partner, Ryan Pulock, who was placed on injured reserve on Friday with a lower-body injury.
Lambert would not specify a timetable for Pulock.
Saturday marked the first time the Islanders have played without both Pelech and Pulock since a four-game stretch in November 2021.
“It’s different,” defenseman Noah Dobson said. “It’s tough to replace those guys. They’re definitely missed back there.”
Defenseman Sebastian Aho (IR/upper body) continued to work with teammates during Saturday’s morning skate but Lambert offered no timetable for his return.
Lambert was asked about Mathew Barzal’s maturity off the ice and how it’s helped his play. Barzal, 26, entered Saturday with nine goals and 18 assists in 24 games and multi-point efforts in three of his previous four matches.
“He’s come in this year with a purpose to take more of a role in a leadership fashion,” Lambert said. “I think he’s done that. There’s definitely a different aura to him.”
Forwards Oliver Wahlstrom and Matt Martin and defenseman Grant Hutton remained out of the lineup…Former Islander Johnny Boychuk, a member of the player development department who resides in Edmonton but periodically joins the team to work on-ice with the defensemen, is in town and was helping to acclimate newly-acquired Robert Bortuzzo to Long Island.