The New York Islanders already have a new look with Patrick Roy behind the bench but appear poised to have an old face back in the lineup after the All-Star Break. According to the NHL media site, defenseman Ryan Pulock has been activated from Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR).
The change in status was one of three transactions on Sunday. After clearing waivers, forward Julien Gauthier was sent to Bridgeport and it what is almost assured to be a paper transaction designed to accrue as much cap space as possible, Simon Holmstrom was also sent down to the AHL affiliate. Of the moves, only the Gauthier assignment to Bridgeport was announced by the team.
According to CapFriendly, both center Casey Cizikas and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo were moved to LTIR prior to activating Pulock, giving the club 3.450,000 in their LTI salary pool and $3.150,833 in usable cap space.
Pulock hasn't played since the team's 7-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 7. The injury appeared to happen when Pulock blocked Zach Wrenski's shot off his right leg late in the second period. He returned for the third period but didn't play the final 8:14 of the game after taking one last hit before Horvat's second goal.
Following placing Pulock on IR, the team quickly made a move, acquiring Bortuzzo from the St. Louis Blues for a seventh-round draft pick. Bortuzzo played serviceably until suffering an injury versus the Colorado Avalanche on Jan 2. which landed him on IR as well. Pulock was moved from IR to LTIR on Dec. 23 in a move designed to help the team operate above the salary cap.
We'll see if Pulock is ready to practice with the team and be ready to take the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. We had not heard reports of him skating with the team or on his own prior to Sunday's transaction. When he returns, Pulock is an obvious upgrade for a defense that has struggled to have any continuity this season. Adam Pelech's status remains unknown after he took an illegal elbow from Brendan Gallagher in Montreal. With Pelech out, both Mike Reilly and Samuel Bolduc were inserted in the lineup.
Pulock had two goals and four assists while averaging 22:47 TOI in 25 games this season. He played in all 82 games last year after missing 26 in the 2021-22 season with a lower-body injury.