The Adam Pelech and Travis Hamonic Theory
This is just my idea. It’s not proven fact, but rather something I came up with in my head the other day while brainstorming.
It’s no secret now that the Islanders have been pursuing a trade for Travis Hamonic for a few months. That is on halt now because of the Johnny Boychuk injury, but it is still on Garth Snow’s plate moving forward. An offseason move would be much easier to pull off than a midseason move, especially in today’s grid-locked NHL. It has probably been difficult and will continue to be difficult for Garth Snow to find a fit both geographically and for the Islanders moving forward.
Now, factor in Adam Pelech (and Ryan Pulock for that matter). Both players are close to NHL ready and will be competing hard for spots on the team next year. With Calvin de Haan, Nick Leddy, Thomas Hickey, and Johnny Boychuk locks for the team, only two spots remain. If Garth Snow gets his original want of a top-four defenseman in return for Hamonic (i.e. Trouba, Tanev, exc.), that leaves only one spot for either Pelech or Pulock. Anyways, enough with the simple math.
My idea is that the Islanders are gauging what they have in Adam Pelech right now. He plays a similar style to Hamonic, although not as smooth of a skater or offensively inclined. Pelech is reliable in his own zone, can lay the body when need be, and has tremendous poise.
Garth Snow and the team likely (and hopefully) know that Ryan Pulock is their best defensive prospect that deserves to make the team next year. Seeing what the have in Pelech by calling him up for this short period of time will be a good measuring stick, and he has impressed majorly so far.
If the team decides he can step into the NHL next season with Ryan Pulock, Snow can try (and shouldn’t have a problem) moving Hamonic for picks and/or prospects.
The team cannot continue to wait and bury prospects. Adam Pelech has proved he can hold himself and be a reliable defenseman at the NHL level. Ryan Pulock has put up good numbers in his three-year AHL career and has refined and will continue to refine his defensive game. He is about to turn 22 years old. The time is now.
With the emergence of Pelech and with Pulock in the ranks, Garth Snow has been put in a reasonable position regarding Travis Hamonic and the defense moving forward.
Next year’s defensive pairs could look like this in my opinion:
Boychuk – de Haan
Leddy – Pulock
Hickey – Pelech