Just when we thought the Islanders’ offseason couldn’t get any more quiet, general manager Lou Lamoriello finally dusted off his drawer of contracts and pulled out a deal that has many fans dancing in the streets.
D-man Adam Pelech has officially agreed to terms on a massive eight-year contract extension, carrying a $5.75M AAV. This comes right after the news broke that Pelech opted for salary arbitration, which is a method of resolving contract disputes with restricted free agents (RFAs). His hearing was initially scheduled for Aug. 11, but now there won’t be any need for it.
“This is where I want to be,” Pelech said earlier today. “Couldn’t be happier with the term. I think all the guys feel the same way. They know something special is going on here.”
This contract, to say the least, is a steal for both sides. It was reported at first that Pelech was seeking a long-term deal worth north of $6M per season earlier in the offseason, so to sign him for under his rumored initial asking price is huge.
On the team side of things, signing Pelech long-term also locks up a cornerstone on their blue line and one of the most underrated defensemen in the league today. Pelech is now making just $750k more than his defense partner, Ryan Pulock (who will hopefully sign his own long-term extension at the end of next season). Pulock is entering the final year of a two-year, $10M contract he signed last fall.
One last thing to note here is the unbelievable progression of a player like Pelech. He went from an extra defenseman — one who struggled mightily in his own end — to being protected under former g.m. Garth Snow in the Vegas Expansion Draft (to the dismay of many at the time), and a few more growing pains before blossoming into a defensive star under Barry Trotz. If you would’ve told Islanders fans that Pelech would’ve gotten this kind of extension following several shaky defensive seasons, many would’ve called you crazy. Nowadays, if you don’t think Pelech is one of the better defensive defensemen in the league, you’re looked at as the crazy one. Pretty wild how much can change in a few years, isn’t it?
Adam Pelech was incredible last season, emerging as a true number one defender despite a lack of production – a rare breed. A pretty fair deal for the best defensive defenceman in the league. pic.twitter.com/9ThQqCtsfx
— dom at the athletic (@domluszczyszyn) August 6, 2021
Now the big question is where do the Islanders go from here? With Pelech locked up long-term on a bargain contract, plus rumors that Lamoriello has several contracts done but unprocessed (i.e. Kyle Palmieri, Casey Cizikas, Zach Parise, Travis Zajac), this has to mean the Isles have more in the works. Whether that’s re-signing fellow RFAs Anthony Beauvillier and Ilya Sorokin, or testing the waters of the trade market, this offseason is far from over.
Stay patient, Isles fans… there’s more on the way, the patience will pay off sooner or later.
Follow Carter on Twitter at @cbentivenga14