The Islanders want their future to include defenseman Adam Pelech, and Monday, they took yet another step to ensure that will be the case.
After already protecting Pelech in the expansion draft, the Islanders locked down the 22-year-old until 2021, signing him to a four-year deal, with an annual average of $1.6 million.
“I was thrilled,” Pelech said. “It’s a great feeling when an organization puts that type of faith in you . . . Hopefully, over the next four years I can establish myself as an NHL regular and push the Islanders toward [the playoffs].”
Injuries, though, have plagued Pelech in his nascent NHL career — most notably, a stretch in the 2015-2016 season where he missed three months because of thoracic outlet syndrome. The blood clot condition surfaced after he’d played only nine games. He’s played 53 games in his career total. But the pains the Islanders have taken to retain him indicate that they see him being a part of their future, and perhaps even taking a bigger role in the future. He registered three goals and seven assists in 44 games last year, averaging 16:50 minutes per game, with 68 even-strength blocks and 17 takeaways.
“Adam has proven at a very young age that he’s capable of playing an important defensive role on our team,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. “He will be an important piece of our defensive core moving forward and I’m excited to watch him continue to develop at the NHL level.”
Pelech said he’s already spoken briefly with new assistant Luke Richardson, who will work with the defensemen.
“There’s always a bit of wanting to prove yourself,” he said, especially being a young guy and only having 50 games [under your belt]. You always want to prove yourself.”