The New York Islanders have selected defenseman Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Pulock is known for a hard right-handed shot and dynamic offensive contributions in the WHL, but injuries during his draft year clouded where he would fall in the draft. Some draft rankings did not have him rated this highly among 2013 NHL Draft prospects, though several put him anywhere in the 10-20 range. (See some contrasting views on him below.)
Clearly the Islanders liked his offensive game. While the Islanders have greatly increased their store of defensive prospects after making Pulock their eighth consecutive blueline pick, he immediately moves toward the top of purely offensive-oriented defensemen in the Isles system.
ISS: 14 | CSS: 12 (N.A. skaters) | TSN: 23 | TSR: 11 | McKeen's: 15 | THN: 10 | HP: 12
Hockey Prospectus (Corey Pronman):
Finding the perfect spot for Pulock was difficult. Some scouts consider him to be a top-eight player in this draft, whereas others prefer him in the 11-15 range. Despite concerns, he has been one of the WHL's top offensive defensemen for the past three seasons. He tied for the points lead among all Wheat Kings this year. His best tool is his shot, which is elite, and NHL teams will utilize it atop the umbrella on their first power play unit. It has been clocked at over 100 miles per hour in skills competitions. His offensive game is well rounded, as he is a high-end thinker who has been described as a methodical puck mover. Pulock always seems to make the right decisions, whether it is to rush, pass, or shoot...
... To call Brandon an offensively challenged team would be an understatement as Pulock tied for the team lead in points with 45 despite having games in hand.
On his shot and powerplay skills alone, he projects to have value as a potential powerplay quarterback as a legitimate offensive catalyst. His strength is an asset to his defensive game but Pulock will need to show improvement with his footwork as he remains prone to defensive lapses where he allows forwards to gain positioning on him as a result of not moving his feet.
Very steady, effective and efficient player. His strength is founded on an overall game that is consistent and dependable. He has very good puck skills that are augmented by an outstanding shot. Very good vision and awareness and he creates offensive chances. He plays with poise and logs all of the important minutes for his team and he plays with a calming influence.
The THN Draft Preview had scouts contrasting views of Pulock:
Said one: "He's not going to wow you with any flash, but he's got a real steadiness to his game. ... He's going to be a real solid NHL player."
But said another: "Might be as good now as he's ever going to be. That's OK, but nothing special. [other guys] in this draft will go by him down the road. He's got a good shot, but his size and mobility are average."
Of course in their pre-draft previews the Islanders quoted their Player Development head Trent Klatt describing it otherwise:
Ryan Pulock is a slick, skilled puck-moving defenseman. Pulock is a very good skater who’s efficient and very mobile. He’s not afraid to carry the puck up ice and has a slap shot that is very hard and heavy which will help an NHL power play.
What's the real story on Pulock? That comes in the next three to five years. Here he is in his draft-day interview with IslesTV:
The Islanders made big news earlier in the afternoon with the announcement that they had found a new home for malcontent wing prospect Nino Niederreiter: After apparently shopping the disgruntled Niederreiter around the league, they dealt him to the Minnesota Wild for Cal Clutterbuck, a checking winger who is a restricted free agent. The Islanders also got the Wild's third-round pick (70th overall) in the deal.
Finally, at the request of David Sweden: A quick LHH clip with a Bergevin-inspired suit: