When it comes to uncomfortable situations, facing off against Lou Lamoriello in an arbitration hearing might just be the least desirable in all of sport.
Adam Pelech successfully dodged that bullet on Friday morning, agreeing to terms on an eight-year extension with the New York Islanders carrying an average annual value of $5.75 million that will keep him on Long Island through the 2028-29 season
The details of the agreement, such as its salary structure or the existence of a no-move clause, have yet to be determined.
Locking down Pelech for the better part of the next decade is, without a doubt, a bonafide win for an Islanders team whose blueline pushed them achingly close to the Stanley Cup Final in each of the past two seasons. The 26-year-old is one of the best shutdown defenders in the entire NHL, a workhorse who logs upwards of 20 minutes per night on one of the league’s most defensively sound teams while driving play at a sterling clip, too.
Few defensemen manage to leave such a sizeable impact at both ends of the ice the way Pelech does. He’s a vital component to the Islanders’ success. In his role, the Toronto-native does pretty much everything that’s asked of him, serving as a key driving force behind his team’s rise up the standings over the past three seasons.
And now set to come in at a $5.75 million cap hit for the next eight years? That’s downright robbery. Lou strikes again.
The work is not done, however. With the ink still damp on his new extension, Pelech now joins Scott Mayfield as one of just two Islanders’ defenders under contract beyond next season, with Mayfield set to hit free agency in 2022.
Sure, Pelech offers about as good of a foundation as you can get when building a blueline in the modern NHL. But he’ll need reinforcements.
Luckily, with $17 million cap space at the moment and even more money set to comes off the books next summer, Lou has plenty of ammo with which to re-stock.
Watch out, NHL. The Islanders could be dangerous for a long time.