Ryan Pulock’s quickly become one of the New York Islanders top four defenders. So what grade do you give a player that stood out positively amongst so much negative play on the Islanders blue line?
The way Ryan Pulock started the season wasn’t the way it ended with the New York Islanders. It started with questions about his ability and even if he could hold down a place on the roster. Fast-forward to April, and that’s far from the case, with a spot in 2018-19 on the top four all but guaranteed.
Remember training camp? Remember how at the end of camp, Devon Toews was brought back into the team for one last look? We weren’t sure if the Islanders would take Pulock or Toews.
They ended up taking Pulock. But even the quest to get on the team wasn’t over for Pulock. He wasn’t actually put into the active roster until the middle of October.
Power Play Help
By the middle of October, the Islanders had a record of 2-3-1. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. What was terrible was the Islanders 0% power play efficiency at that time. In 26 attempts the New York Islanders were 0-for-20.
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In his first game, on the Islanders first power play attempt with Pulock, they put up a point. That’s the impact that Pulock had on the man advantage. Instantaneous.
Through the season half of Pulock’s rookie defensemen leading ten goals came on the power play, and six of his 22 assists were on the man advantage. Helping the Islanders hold a sixth-best 23.2 percent efficiency on the power play at the end of the 2017-18 season.
By the end of the season, Ryan Pulock was an established second pairing defenseman for an admittedly weak Islanders defense. His 32 points ranked second on the team behind Nick Leddy, but with a -4 he at least looks like he was a more effective defender. I’m not saying +/- is a good stat, but -4 looks a lot better than -42.
Going into 2018-19 Ryan Pulock is easily the New York Islanders third best defenseman behind Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. He’s still got things to learn, such as when to pinch and pull. But Pulock seems like a quick study and should learn those lessons rather quick.
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For his efforts, Pulock deserves an A- on the year. Being the New York Islanders third best defender on the roster and likely the second-best in his position on the team last season, he deserves it.