Adam Pelech will be available to play when the NHL resumes, general manager Lou Lamoriello announced Wednesday.
Pelech suffered an Achilles tendon injury in a “freak accident” before the game against New Jersey on January 2. Pelech’s injury ended his season. He likely would not have played in the playoffs if they happened as originally planned.
However, Lamoriello provided unexpected, but welcome news for Islanders fans about their beloved defenseman.
“He certainly feels good,” Lamoriello said. “He’s ready to play.”
Lamoriello added that both defenseman Johnny Boychuk and forward Casey Cizikas will also be healthy when the NHL resumes.
Adam Pelech had nine points and was a +4 in 38 games this season. He was a workhorse, averaging over 21 minutes per game and starting 62.8% of his shifts starting in either the neutral or defensive zone. The Islanders were 25-10-3 with Pelech in the lineup.
When the league resumes, the Islanders will play the Florida Panthers in a best-of-five qualifying round series to get into the playoffs. If they lose, there is a chance they can enter the draft lottery for the first overall pick.
The Islanders were among the 29 teams that voted for the Return to Play Plan. Anders Lee is the team’s NHLPA representative. Carolina and Tampa voted against the plan.
Lamoirello acknowledged that the plan wasn’t entirely perfect, but said it was good for the game and its fans.
“I think they’ve done a creative job with coming up with the formula,” Lamoriello said. “I’m with it.”
The NHL is preparing to enter Phase 2 of their reopening plan. This will allow up to six players at a time to work out in a team’s facility. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that he doesn’t expect formal training camp (Phase 3) to begin before July 1st. Games might not resume for another month afterwards.
In other news, the Islanders have also announced that construction has resumed at Belmont and the arena is still expected to open in time for the 2021-2022 season. There has been no construction since March 27 because of COVID-19.