Editorials

New York Islanders: Playoffs Are A Big Test For Ryan Pulock

By Matt O'Leary
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 09: Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders celebrates his game winning goal at 2:23 of overtime against the Colorado Avalanche at the Barclays Center on February 09, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Avalanche 4-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 09: Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders celebrates his game winning goal at 2:23 of overtime against the Colorado Avalanche at the Barclays Center on February 09, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Avalanche 4-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Ryan Pulock has emerged this year as the New York Islanders number one defenseman. This series will be a big test for him as the minutes leader.

For the first time in Ryan Pulock’s career, he averaged over 20 minutes a night. In fact, the New York Islanders defender made the jump from 18:24 a night to 22:22 a night, nearly a four minutes per night increase.

The reason for the increased ice time for Ryan Pulock was because he emerged as the Islanders best defender this year. In years gone by that role has been Nick Leddy’s but in Pulock’s second full season he now holds that honor.

He finished the year with 37 points (9 goals, 28 assists) but his play in his defensive zone is what impressed me the most. We know Pulock has that booming shot, what was a question going into this year was his defensive play. That’s no longer a question.

Pulock, and the rest of the Islanders defense, face a very tough test this series. They have to go up against one of the deepest forward groups in the league. The Penguins feature Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessell, Jake Guentzel, and Nick Bjugstad.

Sure, the Islanders have allowed the fewest goals in the league this year but you can’t help but point out the Pens impressive offensive firepower. Ryan Pulock specifically, who will be out on the ice a ton, is the main guy I want to focus on.

He has some playoff experience but at just 24 he is still developing and growing. This is a big test to see how far his development has come.

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