Adam Pelech is out for the remainder 2019-20 season with an injury to his Achilles tendon, Islanders President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello announced on Friday afternoon.
The Islanders defenseman sustained the injury prior to facing the New Jersey Devils on Thursday evening.
"It was in pregame warmups, not on the ice, which they go through every day," Lamoriello explained. "It was a freak accident...Unfortunately, as the release says, it was his Achilles which will need repair."
Pelech is expected to be sidelined for four months after undergoing surgery. Through 38 games this season, Pelech compiled nine points (1G, 8A). The 25-year-old left shot, who was consistently paired with Ryan Pulock, was averaging 21:08 time on ice per game.
"I always feel that you give the worst scenario," Lamoriello said. "With this type of an injury, there is a period of time. It depends on the healing process, everyone is different, but this type of injury usually takes around four months."
Video: PIT@NYI: Pelech strikes on redirected one-timer
Pelech's vacancy will not be easy to fill by any means, but the Islanders have options in Sebastian Aho and rookie Noah Dobson. The Isles recalled Aho on Friday morning from their AHL affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Aho, who is a left shot like Pelech, has 20 points (two goals and 18 assists) in 34 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this season. Through 141-career AHL games, the 23-year-old Swede has 95 points (20 goals and 75 assists). Aho, who was drafted in the fifth round (193rd overall) of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, has played 22 National Hockey League games, all during the 2017-18 season, scoring four points (one goal and three assists).
Dobson was in the Islanders lineup last night against New Jersey as Pelech missed his first game of the season. Dobson, who is just 19-years old and is a right-shot has played in 12 games this season and recorded two assists.
"Certainly, Aho has had an outstanding year in the minors," Lamoriello said. "Young [Noah] Dobson has been getting experience here [with the Islanders]. Hickey has been injured and has not been playing. His status; he's on a recovery situation. He has not been in the [Bridgeport] lineup. We have to go with the depth that we have, and we feel that they certainly can get the job done.
Pelech is an integral component of the Isles penalty kill and has logged the second-highest time on ice on the PK at 105:45 and an average PK time on ice per game of 2:47. Pelech also led the Isles in blocked shots with 83.
"This all happened within the last 24 hours," Lamoriello said. "Certainly, you're always trying to get better, but you don't replace a player like Adam Pelech at the trade deadline. He's one of the top defensemen at this point. The reason for this call is to make everyone aware of the situation and what transpired. It's up to us internally. These are the things that happen throughout the season, it happens to every team. Unfortunately, when it happens to you it hurts certainly a lot more than what you read, but we have people now and players that have to come forward."
LAMORIELLO PROVIDES UPDATE ON THOMAS HICKEY
Former Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey has been sidelined since Nov. 29 with a lower-body injury. Hickey cleared waivers on Sept. 30 and was reassigned to Bridgeport. With the Sound Tigers, the 30-year-old left-shot played in 11 games before sustaining his injury. Through 449 games in the NHL, Hickey has amassed 115 points (22G, 93A).
Lamoriello did not have an immediate update on Hickey's time frame for return.
"No," Lamoriello said when asked if he had an update on Hickey. "We've been waiting [for] once he's ready."