The Islanders’ offseason is set to be a difficult one in a number of ways. One of the biggest obstacles will be getting RFA Adam Pelech extended.
General Manager Lou Lamoriello made it crystal clear a few weeks ago he had all the intention of getting his restricted free agents — Pelech, Anthony Beauvillier, and Ilya Sorokin — re-signed, thus avoiding the situation he was forced into last offseason when he traded Devon Toews to Colorado.
Pelech is obviously the top priority on that list. He’s the Isles’ best defenseman and established himself as an elite defender in the NHL over the past three seasons. So there’s no doubt that he is going to get a lofty raise from the $1.6M he was making in this last contract.
With the news that came out of Boston yesterday — the Bruins announced they signed defenseman Brandon Carlo to a six-year, 24M deal — the parameters of what’s to be expected in Pelech’s new deal got a bit more clear.
There had been a lot of speculation from the season till now that Pelech could end up in the $5.5-6M for his new contract. But seeing what he and Bruins agreed to, the Isles might be able to get him for a more affordable price.
For Carlo’s AAV to be only $4.1M, it’s a bit of a surprise if not even an underpayment. The 24-year-old has climbed the ranks of the Bruins’ backend for a few years now and is one of their top-four defenders.
Pelech has taken an identical path as the former, but is certainly going to get paid more. That’s a given.
Carlo’s numbers though could maybe lead to the Isles getting Pelech locked up at $5M or a shade above instead of having to break the bank.
That would be a massive victory for the organization.
A similar deal as such also gives Lamoriello at least a little flexibility to do some other housecleaning in regards to the organization’s other offseason moves.
The term too might even be more important than the money for Pelech’s contract. Boston showed how much they value Carlo by the amount of years they gave him. It will most likely be the same way with for Pelech.
After all, Pelech is only 26 and hasn’t even reached his prime yet. Not only that, the Islanders are Stanley Cup contenders and have a system that will allow them to sustain success long-term.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) February 26, 2021
Some would say Carlo and Pelech are in the same echelon of d-men in the league. Let’s call it the second tier. But Pelech is definitely above Carlo in terms of importance to his team’s overall success. The Islanders rely on defense and don’t have some of the horses Boston does. They also don’t have a Charlie McAvoy like Carlo and the B’s do.
Don’t think for a second that doesn’t play a factor in contract negotiations. It will.
Now that Carlo has his deal done, there’s more clarity of where things might end up going between Pelech and the Isles over the next few weeks. The contract revealed yesterday can only be beneficial as the offseason moves forward.
And the Isles might want to send their Massachusetts brethren a thank you for it.