New York Islanders Five Most Important Players for 2019-20

Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 12: Ryan Pulock #6 of the New York Islanders reacts after the Islanders lose to the New York Rangers 2-1 at Barclays Center on January 12, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Ryan Pulock

The Islanders will trust Ryan Pulock to be their number one defenseman yet again this season. They trust him enough that they feel comfortable enough to bring in 19-year-old defenseman Noah Dobson and part with seven-year NHL vet Thomas Hickey.

Yes, Noah Dobson has earned the chance to play in the NHL this season. But if the Barry Trotz or Lou Lamoriello weren’t comfortable with their defense as it’s currently constructed I doubt they’d feel confident enough to integrate a young rookie like Dobson.

There’s no reason for Barry and Lou to not feel confident in Ryan Pulock.

The former 15th overall pick in 2013, Ryan Pulock lead all Islanders skaters in average ice-time last season with 22:22 per game. He also lead all defensemen for points with 37. His 5.9 defensive point share was the most for any Islanders skater.

Pulock was good at breaking up plays at the blue line with a 13 percent breakup ratio. That comparable to Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and Calgary Flames Mark Giordano (who won the Norris Trophy last season).

This is only going to be Pulock’s third year in the league. With Barry Trotz as his coach, who’s molded defensemen like Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi, and Shea Weber. For Pulock, who turns 25 in October, it’s clear that he’s only going to get better over the next few years.

Pulock’s play will be crucial for the Islanders who will hope to maintain their defensive dominance from last year while adding a bit more offense. If the Islanders get anything less out of Pulock this season, they might very well be in some trouble.