With Travis Hamonic out 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury, Adam Pelech was recalled from Bridgeport and will get a prime opportunity in the Islanders' lineup. Pelech will skate on a pairing with Nick Leddy.
"I thought camp went pretty well, it just didn't work out with the numbers," Pelech said of starting the season in Bridgeport. "I had a good few weeks in Bridgeport and it just gave me a chance to continue to work on my game and I'm glad to be back."
Pelech will play his off side on Monday as a lefty playing on the right side. Jack Capuano prefers to play his defensemen on their natural side, but with right-handers Hamonic and Ryan Pulock both out, Pelech will have to adjust - not that he minds.
"Once you get out there you're just playing hockey, it's less about left and right, you're just playing," Pelech said. "I'm glad to be back and I'm fine with the right side."
The 22-year-old played nine games with the Islanders last season and said that experience will help with his transition back into the NHL. In some ways, Pelech said the NHL is an easier league to adjust to than the AHL. While the players are more skilled at the NHL level, the game is easier to read and anticipate with fewer broken plays. Positionally everyone is where they are supposed to be, so breakouts and getting out of the zone tend to be easier.
But the benefit of starting the year in Bridgeport as opposed to being the seventh man on the Islanders was being able to play big minutes and in all situations, so he's not coming in cold. He had a goal and three assists in 10 games for the Sound Tigers.
"Just being able to go down there and play big minutes in key situations definitely helps," Pelech said. "I worked on everything down there, there were certain things I wanted to improve like maybe my footwork and my shot."
With Hamonic out for at least the next month, Pelech will be getting some big minutes with the Islanders.
"Last time I came up, I wasn't really sure what the situation was, so I'm definitely more comfortable this time and looking forward to the opportunity."