The wait was well worth it.
Finally, the Islanders made their first official transaction of the offseason this morning announcing the extension of d-man Adam Pelech. The deal, which avoided the two sides going to arbitration, will keep Pelech in an Isles uniform for the next eight seasons and has an AAV of $5.75M.
“This is where I want to be, I think all the guys feel the same way,” Pelech said to the media this morning. “They know there’s something special here.”
First off, no your eyes aren’t deceiving you. The Isles did just lock up arguably the best defensive d-man in the NHL for a bargain totaling out to 46 MILLION DOLLARS. That’s it? I know right.
But seriously, this deal is pure robbery.
Nobody (and I mean NOBODY) expected that number after it was reported by The Athletic’s Arthur Staple two weeks ago that Pelech’s camp was asking in the $7M range. It also probably wasn’t partially beneficial after how much money had been shelled out to several high-end d-men around the league over the past couple of weeks. I mean Seth Jones’ deal in Chicago — after the Blackhawks traded for him from Columbus — came in at a lofty $76M over the next eight seasons. Colorado’s Cale Makar got paid $54 million for six years. Dougie Hamilton received a whopping $63M from the Devils.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) August 6, 2021
So Pelech getting that kind of bag those three got seemed justified. But as he said this morning, those d-men’s big tickets had no effect on his standing.
“That didn’t have any effect on our negotiations at all,” Pelech noted.
Chalk that up as another win from the Islanders’ side of things. After all, he was due for a large raise as he was coming off the most team-friendly contract in the league he signed back in 2017 with the Isles that paid him $6.4M. Not to mention, the last three seasons Pelech has evolved into one of the best defenders in the league and been one of the backbones to the Isles success.
Pelech leaving that kind of money on the table might raise some eyebrows, but hey Islanders fans could care less. They now have a guy who hasn’t even scratched the surface of just how good he can be. A homegrown player too.
The 26-year-old is still two to three years away from being in his prime and the Islanders are expected to compete for a Stanley Cup in that time. Under head coach Barry Trotz, he has only gotten better with each passing season. And might we remind everyone, just last week Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman acknowledged Pelech as a future Norris Trophy candidate (Note: Friedman after watching Pelech in the postseason said he regretted not putting him on his ballot). Furthermore, Pelech’s deal allows general manager Lou Lamoriello to get take care of some of the organization’s other priorities this summer and even more flexibility for years to come.
This newest contract for Pelech associates him with such names as with Winnipeg’s Josh Morrissey, Dallas’ Esa Lindell, and Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin. Out of that group, Slavin is the only one considered elite. Pelech is the only other one on that level. So, if you’re keeping score at home, the Islanders are underpaying their number one defender compared to what other teams would be giving for their top-flight d-men for their services.
Again, this just shows how outstanding of a deal this ended up being for them.
With Pelech now in the fold for the long-haul the offseason has officially kicked off for the Islanders and with a bang. There’s more work to be done, but this first step is finally completed. Pelech’s contract is an incredible steal and will only continue to be that way for the rest of his tenure in orange and blue.