2021 was a different kind of year for Ryan Pulock. He didn’t put up the offensive numbers that he usually does for New York Islanders but somehow it was arguably the best year of his career. In 56 games he had just 17 points.
That puts him on pace for 25 points over a full season, and he only had two goals during the regular season as well. This is normally someone who you can pencil in for nine or 10 goals in a season with points in the mid-30’s.
But how can it be considered such a success? Well, Pulock and his partner Adam Pelech finally got the recognition deserved as a shutdown pair.
Defensively, the numbers absolutely jumped off the chart, His WAR% jumped up to 93% this season and that’s not the only place we saw an improvement from Pulock.
According to Natural Stat Trick, Pulock’s SCF% (Scoring Chances For%) jumped up from 44.7 last year all the way up to 55.6 this past year. He was also so good at limiting high danger chances against.
Ryan Pulock was on the ice for just 15 high danger goals all year giving him a career-high 68.8 HDGF%. For now the third year in a row, Barry Trotz relied on him to play big minutes (22:27 per night) and he was excellent in that role.
The one thing I just can’t get past was how unlucky he was with pucks on net. It’s not like he wasn’t shooting, he had 121 shots in 56 games he was just shooting at 1.7% on the season. For the record, his average the three years prior was 5.5%.
If he shot at 5.5%, he would’ve put in 7 goals on the season which would’ve bumped him up to 22 points or a 32 point pace over a full season. A much more familiar offensive output from Ryan.
Pulock’s best moment on the season came in the playoffs. During Game 4 of the Tampa series, Pulock made an unbelievable heads-up play to save the Islanders season.
Unfortunately, without a Stanley Cup, this moment doesn’t have the same impact. It’s a nice footnote that could’ve been right up there with Bob Nystrom’s overtime goal to win the Islanders their first Stanley Cup.
If I were to find one flaw in Pulock’s game this year it would be power play production. He had just one point on the man advantage (an assist). Normally that number is closer to double digits. Still, the season was a resounding success for Pulock.
Final Grade: A