Nick Leddy’s name might be the first name when looking at the New York Islanders defensive pairings, but it’s clear that Ryan Pulock is the team’s number one defender.
Pulock plays big minutes for the Islanders across all situations, 5on5, power play, and shorthanded. Barry Trotz trusts Ryan Pulock across all three situations. He might not be as smooth a skater as Nick Leddy or be as tough as Johnny Boychuk, but Ryan Pulock has a bit of both and more.
This is only his second full year in the NHL and already he’s proven to be a player that can keep pucks away from the net, quarterback a power play, put up numbers (he has 37 points this season) all while playing huge minutes.
His emergence has even made the aforementioned Nick Leddy potentially expendable (subscription required) for the New York Islanders as they look to add forward talent to their roster next season.
Trotz relied heavily on Ryan Pulock during the regular season to lead his group of blueliners and will continue to do so in the postseason. And while he’ll have the same responsibility as the other defenders, keep the Penguins quite, Pulock will hopefully breathe some life into the Islanders woeful powerplay.