New York Islanders: Contract Extension Coming Soon for Ryan Pulock

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 19: Ryan Pulock
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 19: Ryan Pulock /

If the New York Islanders continue down the path they’ve been on of locking up their budding NHL-level prospects to long-term, low-cost contracts, then Isles defenseman Ryan Pulock is probably the next candidate for an extension.

Ryan Pulock has been developing nicely for the New York Islanders. His capability on defense and newly-found offensive prowess are both encouraging signs as the Isles try to equate the team’s depth of talented prospects into NHL-level success. That’s much easier said than done.

Judging by the Islanders poor defensive play in the wake of injuries to half of the New York Islanders top two defensive pairings, this is still very much a work in progress. Losing Calvin de Haan for the season and Johnny Boychuk to two extended periods on the IR has left the Isles looking to their young defensemen to pick up the slack.

New York Islanders are locking up their young talent

Scott Mayfield was recently rewarded for his hard work and improvement with a five-year, $7.25 million dollar contract extension. Adam Pelech signed a four-year, $6.4 million extension during the offseason last year under similar circumstances. They both proved to the New York Islanders front office and coaching staff that they were worth the investments.

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In all likelihood, Ryan Pulock will be the next young Islanders defenseman to have his contract extended by the team. His progressions as a player, while certainly hitting some bumps along the way, has been a steady flow of improvements. Considering the five-point game he had the other night in Chicago, he may be just getting started.

By rewarding their young players with long-term contracts, the New York Islanders are not only exhibiting the trust they’ve developed for their prospects, they’re setting themselves up pretty well for the future.

New York Islanders Master Plan

Some have found it odd that the New York Islanders would make such commitments to such young, unproven players. That’s a fair question to ask, especially when the Isles defense has obvious holes in it. Fans want to see these spots filled by veterans, or better yet, an acquired all-star.

The strategy the Islanders are employing here is a simple one. Based loosely on what most MLB teams have been doing over the past decade, NHL teams are beginning to see the upside to locking up young, talented players to long-term, low-risk contracts. This is an extremely important part of putting together a winner when a team’s constricted by a salary cap.

If the New York Islanders have a superstar in any one of the three defensemen they’ve recently signed to extensions, they’ve won. If Ryan Pulock turns into a powerhouse and the Islanders have him on their roster through his 20’s at, say, $1.5 million per year, they would have hit the jackpot.

Even in the worst case scenario that Pelech, Mayfield, and Pulock all turn out to be just OK players, you’ve still got a few years of decent play out of them for next to nothing. And when they’re in the final years of their contracts, all in their late 20’s, the cycle repeats itself. Trade them. Get back prospects and/or draft picks in return. Develop said prospects into NHL-level players, and then extend them on the cheap.

Next: Islanders Patchwork Defense Coming Along

You’re welcome, Garth Snow. If you’re lucky enough to keep your job, here’s your blueprint for another ten years of sitting on your……hands.