NY Islanders 2022-23 player preview: Ryan Pulock

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

An excellent WHL career with the Brandon Wheat Kings saw Ryan Pulock selected 15th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft by the NY Islanders. In late September of 2013, Pulock signed a three-year entry-level contract and was assigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after the 2013-14 WHL season concluded. Pulock spent three seasons with the Sound Tigers, development well spent, before getting his first taste of NHL action.

Since 2017, Pulock has been one of the defensive stars on the Islanders. Along with his linemate Adam Pelech, Pulock plays lock-down defense often on the ice against the opposing teams' top players. Pulock is not only excellent in his own end of the ice, but he can also generate offense from the back end, tallying assists, but it's his boom of a shot that makes defenders wince after he winds up for a shot.

By now, Pulock has gained a reputation as one of the elite defensemen in the NHL. One of his most memorable moments happened a little more than a year ago when Pulock made a jaw-dropping save to help the Islanders win Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the closing seconds of the game.

Last season, Pulock picked up 21 points on five goals and 16 assists in just 56 games played. Unfortunately, last November it was announced that Pulock would miss 4-6 weeks with an undisclosed lower-body injury, however, it turned more into an 11-12 week timeline. When Pulock returned, it took him some time, but he got back to his normal self despite a rocky season for the entire team.

"Obviously, he's a pretty good defenseman for us. That's an area where we have to correct a little bit. It's a hole, but we're going to have to find ways to fill that hole. … But we'll have to do it as a group of five guys on the ice and a goaltender and go from there."

Former Coach, Barry Trotz

The thing about Pulock is he's a lot better offensively than his recent numbers indicate. He's a two-time 10-goal scorer with one nine goal season in between, and tallied 32 or more points between the 2017-18 and 2019-20 season.

In October of 2021, the 27-year-old defenseman signed an eight-year deal worth $49.2 million dollars to remain on the blue and orange until 2029. Upon the announcement, Pulock's contract was seen as a bargain. It's still seen as a good contract, however, in the upcoming season, Pulock needs to find his offensive touch again, sitting in the 35-40 point range.

We should see a revitalized Pulock and Pelech tandem. The Islanders' top pair has led them to the Eastern Conference Final with their play before and with the upgrades behind them on the blue line, we could see that happen again. Look for Pulock to find that playmaking touch and goal-scoring prowess while continuing his lockdown defense in the Islanders' end of the ice. It's a big, bounce-back season for Pulock.

Read more season previews: Sebastian Aho Josh Bailey | Mathew Barzal | Anthony Beauvillier | Kieffer Bellows | Cal Clutterbuck | Noah Dobson | Ross JohnstonAnders Lee | Matt Martin | Scott Mayfield | Brock Nelson | J.G. Pageau | Kyle Palmieri | Zach Parise | Adam Pelech