NY Islanders 2022-23 player report card: Ryan Pulock was the Isles' best defenseman
The NY Islanders blueline started off the 2022-23 campaign as one of the most productive offensively around the league, but had a hard time finding production in the latter half of the season and found themselves getting scored a lot more. Some D-Men notably struggled at points for the blue and orange, such as Noah Dobson and even Adam Pelech. One player that remained consistent on the back end was Ryan Pulock, who has always been a rock-solid force for the Islanders and continued that in his 8th season.
Pulock's point totals aren't indicative of his game. As he has evolved as a player, he has become more of a defensive defenseman that can transition into offense. His slapshot remains one of the hardest in the league, always making him a threat in the O-zone. He didn't see nearly much power play time this season as he has in the past, which may or may not have been one of the reasons why the man advantage was more of a disadvantage for New York.
NY Islanders 2022-23 player report card: Ryan Pulock
The former 15th overall selection in 2013 finished the season with five goals and 21 assists for 26 points, more than he has had in the previous two seasons. Most importantly for him, he was able to play in all 82 games for the first time since the 2018-19 season and was one of five Islanders to take the ice in every single game. His best game came against the Philadelphia Flyers on November 26 when he registered four assists, three of which came in the third period in a 5-2 Islanders comeback victory.
In the playoffs, Pulock continued to show how valuable he was on both sides of the rink. In the six-game series against the Carolina Hurricanes, he scored one goal and three assists for four points good for second on the team to both Kyle Palmieri and Brock Nelson. His goal in game one was the first for the Isles in the series, albeit to the fault of Antti Raanta but was well deserved considering he was arguably the Islanders' best player in the entire series. In that same game, he registered nine hits, the first of which leveling forward Jack Drury, which shows how his intensity elevates to different heights when the postseason comes around.
Pulock is locked in for the next seven years on Long Island making $6.15 million per season. Before he signed the deal prior to the 2021-22 season, most expected a right-handed defenseman of his caliber to cash in even more than he did. But, the Manitoba native expressed his love of being a New York Islander and wanting to win with the group they have. His loyalty along with his presence on the team is admiral for fans and the team alike, and has rightfully earned an A- for his efforts this season.