Ryan Pulock once again held it down as the Islanders number one defenseman. What can we expect from him in 2021?
Since coming into the league full time in 2017-2018, Ryan Pulock’s role with the Islanders has expanded year over year. When Barry Trotz arrived it was fairly evident that Pulock would be the number one defenseman and he’s done a solid job the past two seasons.
In year one under Trotz, Pulock’s ice time jumped up to over 22 minutes a night and he finished with a career-high of 37 points. Last year, he was on pace for a career year before the stoppage.
In 68 games he had 10 goals and 35 points, a pace of 42 points over a full season and his ice time went up to 22:24. He led the way for the Islanders in ice time and for good reason, as he’s become a solid number one pair guy.
While Devon Toews had the most power play time for an Islanders d-man, Pulock wasn’t too far behind with 121:51 on the power play. After the decision to trade Devon Toews this offseason, his role will likely increase on the man advantage.
Pulock can also play on the penalty kill, getting over 100 minutes of ice time last year. He won’t lead the way that will likely be Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield but it’s pretty clear that Barry Trotz trust Pulock in all situations.
For 2021, you can write in Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock for the top pair. Both of those guys should be playing upwards of 21 minutes a night, but for Pulock getting extra time on the power play I’ll say he averages 22:34 of ice time per game.
As far as points go, Pulock should be just as productive as usual. In a 56 game season, I’ll say he gives the Isles 27 points (8 goals, 19 assists) which over a full 82 game season is 40 points (12 goals, 28 assists).
Pulock is playing his first year of a two-year $5 million AAV contract. Based on his importance to the team over the past few years, you can absolutely expect him to cash in when this one expires.
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If Pulock can ever get a little more consistent with his shot he can take his game to the next level and maybe push 50+ points a season but for now, the Isles will absolutely take his 35-45 points and double-digit goal seasons.