Islanders: Grading Ryan Pulock’s very good 2019-20 season
By Matt Hawkins
The New York Islanders got yet another very good season from Ryan Pulock in 2019-20.
Drafted 15th overall in 2013 by the New York Islanders, defenseman Ryan Pulock made his NHL debut in 2015-16 at just 21 years old. However, he didn’t play more than 15 games in the NHL until he was 23 in 2017-18.
Since then, Pulock has been a staple in the Islanders’ defense — playing big minutes against the opposing team’s best forwards, whether it be at even strength, on the powerplay, or on the penalty kill.
Last season, coach Barry Trotz’s first year as the Islanders’ head coach, Pulock set career-bests in points (37) and assists (28) and played in every one of the Islanders 82 games.
This season, Pulock continued this success and then some. In 68 games, Pulock scored 35 points (10 goals, 25 assists). If this season wasn’t cut short due to COVID-19, Pulock was on pace for 42 points (12 goals, 30 assists) — all career-bests.
Pulock’s 35 points, 12 goals, and 25 assists all lead Islanders’ defensemen. Additionally, he lead the team’s defensemen in plus/minus (+8), power-play goals (3), game-winning goals (3), average time-on-ice (22:24), offensive point shares (2.7), defensive point shares (4.2), blocked shots (139), and even strength average time-on-ice (19:09).
His 110 hits and 1:46 of average power-play ice-time ranked second among Isles’ defensemen, while his average ice-time on the penalty kill of 1:29 ranked fourth among them.
When compared to Isles’ skaters, Pulock lead them in average time-on-ice (ATOI), defensive point shares (DPS), blocked shots, and even-strength ATOI. His plus/minus and power-play goals ranked second among skaters on the team and his game-winning goals ranked third.
Additionally, Pulock was fourth on the team in points, fifth on the team in offensive point shares (OPS), seventh on the team in points, goals, and hits, and ninth on the team in power-play ATOI and penalty kill ATOI.
Pulock was one of the best, most reliable defensemen on the Islanders this season. He played in every game and in pretty much every situation. He lead the team’s defensemen in multiple major categories and would’ve set career-bests in several offensive categories of the season wasn’t shortened.
However, at just 25 years old, there’s still room for improvement for Pulock. He struggled a bit when Adam Pelech went down with his Achilles injury and he could jump in on the rush a bit more.
Anyways, Pulock is becoming one of the better two-way defensemen in the NHL and is most likely the best in the Isles — a grade of an A- seems acceptable for him.