On January 3rd 2016, allislanders.com author David Lazar wrote an article on why the Islanders should call up defensive prospect, Ryan Pulock from Bridgeport. Pulock finally made his NHL debut on February 28th, 2016 in Edmonton. He would play 15 regular-season games last season scoring twice and adding two assists with a +1 rating. In the playoffs Pulock played in six games scoring a big power play goal in game three of the Florida Panthers series and adding two assists. Pulock did not make the team out of training camp as they only went with six defenseman on their 23 man roster so he went to Bridgeport. Just five games into the Islanders’ season, Pulock got the call-up but would only log five shifts and 3:57 of ice time before leaving the game with what turned out to be a broken right foot. In June, the NHL’s newest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights will have an expansion draft where they will select one player from each team. Teams can select to protect either seven forwards, three defenseman, and a goaltender or eight skaters and a goaltender. Ryan Pulock will not be exempt from the draft and therefore the Islanders have to protect him if they don’t want to risk him being taken. We’ll start off with that as I look at why the Islanders should trade Ryan Pulock. Before I start, I just want to mention that I have always been a big Ryan Pulock fan and I do not want to see him traded but I am writing this from another perspective.
As I just mentioned, Ryan Pulock is not exempt from the expansion draft this June. The Islanders could protect him if they wanted but they’d likely have to take the eight skater, one goaltender format to do so. This is because Johnny Boychuk has no-movment clause and players with a no-movment clause or no-trade clause (forwards John Tavares and Andrew Ladd as well) must be protected. With that the Islanders have two other defenseman they should probably protect in Nick Leddy and Travis Hamonic and so that makes for three defenseman. Protecting Ryan Pulock as well would mean that the Islanders could only protect an additional two skaters with Tavares and Ladd already having to be protected. If the Islanders were to trade Pulock, they’d be able to protect more players and maybe even protect a player they got in a trade for Pulock. Of course, there is the possibility that Vegas doesn’t claim Pulock but if he wasn’t protected then that wouldn’t be likely.
Ryan Pulock is a top defensive prospect for the Islanders. He’s an offensive-defenseman who has a slapshot that has been clocked at over 100 mph on multiple occasions. He is known for his work on the power play as demonstrated with his one-timer goal in game three (against the Florida Panthers) in the playoffs. However, with Hamonic recently injured, Adam Pelech has been playing some solid hockey. At times Pelech even played on the top defensive pairing on the right side of Nick Leddy but has been playing with Thomas Hickey as of late. Scott Mayfield’s seen eight games this season and he brings physicality but even more recently, offense too. In just his first four games of the season Mayfield scored once and added three assists. Devon Toews is in his first season of professional hockey and he’s already made the AHL All-Star game. In the All-Star skills competition, Toews received the second fastest time in the fastest skater competition event’s history. Toews also has four goals and 24 assists in 45 games for Bridgeport this season.
Ryan Pulock has trade value. At 22 years old, Pulock can be considered a top prospect and a top defensive prospect at that. The asking price for Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene is apparently very high and I’m not trying to make this about hypothetical trades but I’d assume you could get a pretty decent player for Pulock, a 1st round pick, and something else. Pulock has nine goals and nine assists in just 24 games this season for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and a total of 33 goals and 39 assists in 132 AHL games.
All in all, Ryan Pulock is a solid, and in my opinion, NHL-ready defenseman however the Islanders defensive depth chart currently has him playing in Bridgeport. He has looked solid in his handful of NHL games and maybe the Islanders should try to package him in a trade for perhaps a big name player given their defensive depth, and where they stand for the expansion draft.