It appears the Islanders got their power-play quarterback of the future. Around 4:30 PM at the Prudential Center in Newark, Garth Snow announced the selection of Ryan Pulock, the defenseman out of Brandon (WHL), with the 15th-overall selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
At the draft party, those behind me shouted with excitement when they heard Pulock’s name called. Others seemed confused, questioning why the New York Islanders selected a defenseman in the first round for the second consecutive season, and with their eighth consecutive draft pick. One thing is for certain, though: the New York Islanders need a top-pairing defenseman, and their best chance of finding one is by developing him from within, which is why drafting another defenseman in the first round should not be considered a disappointment.
At 6’1, 211 pounds, Ryan Pulock already has the size for the NHL-level, yet it is not the size that draws rave reviews from those who have had the chance to watch him.
Ranked No. 14 by ISS among all skaters in this year’s draft, Pulock is best defined by his shot, widely considered to be the hardest of all this year’s prospects. Clocked at 101 MPH during a skills competition earlier in the year, it is that shot which makes Ryan, arguably, the most dangerous player from the blue-line in the entire 2013 draft class. Pulock’s stat-line (14-35-49) in 2013 does a nice job to support that.
Other than his booming shot, though, he has also demonstrated a great deal of ability to play steady, defensive hockey in his own zone. Good hockey sense, good mobility, and strong positioning are all characteristics used to describe the player on the ice. Ryan rarely gets beaten one-on-one, mostly because his uncanny ability to keep forwards to the outside off the rush. If opponents do try to get around him, Pulock isn’t afraid to toss the body either.
Although Pulock will most likely not be rushed into the NHL, the correct development of the Islanders’ latest first round selection should give them a power-play quarterback as soon as Lubomir Visnovsky’s contract expires at the end of the 2014-15 season. His on-ice vision and booming slapshot may give the Islanders the best offensive weapon they have had on the blue-line in years, while his steady play in the defensive zone should give the Islanders the top-pairing defenseman they have been clamoring for all of these years.
In my opinion, it was a great selection by Garth. Let me know what you think and sound off below.