After four consecutive years holding a fifth-overall or better pick, the New York Islanders' reward for a 2013 playoff appearance was a 15th-overall selection in the NHL draft. They could have done worse than Ryan Pulock.
One year later, Pulock has continued to demonstrate the strengths that were recognized on his draft day. That's a good thing. Overall, as you go out from the draft, you naturally want the prospect to perform closer to his ceiling rather than drifting away from it. Pulock did that.
In 2013-14, he followed up his 45-point season with a WHL career-high 63-point season with the Brandon Wheat Kings. As Garth Snow recently explained, his birth date (which, granted, also slightly tempers enthusiasm about his career high this season) makes the Isles fortunate to bring him into the AHL in the second season after his draft rather than return him to juniors.
It will be a question of how good his defensive game is, but thus far it looks like the offensive aspect is a very real, very repeatable skill. We'll see how he does it at the next level this fall in Bridgeport. But at the moment the whole package has us optimistic. Our votes put him at #9 on our Top 25 Islanders Under 25:
|CIL||Keith||Mike B.||Mark||Mike L.||Chris||Dom|
Here are a few samples of our impressions:
Had an impressive season for the Wheat Kings at nearly a PPG, but with a tremendous 23 goals in 66gp. Booming shot, has been man sized for a while. Needs to carry it over to Bridgeport.
He could be higher, who knows. An injury kept us from seeing exactly how good he currently is. But playing almost half the season with a cast, missing double digit games, and still being second on your team in scoring as a d-man is pretty impressive.
He'll be part of a crowded, talented group of defenseman in Bridgeport this year. Let's see what he can do sans cast.
His slapshot is epic. i believe Corey Pronman called his shot the most outstanding skill in his draft class. Hope the rest of the game is attached to it.
One of three Isles top tier D prospects (Reinhart and Pokka the others). Pulock is a RD with a cannon of a shot. At 6'1, 218, he already has the size and strength to play in the NHL, This is a strong kid. He projects as a top 4 D, PP specialist. He scored at an above average pace in juniors (23 Gs, 40As for 63 points in 66 games in 2013-14) but was not on Team Canada's WJC squad with Reinhart and Pelech, both of whom, are better defensively. Nor is Pulock as defensively gifted as Pokka.
Pulock probably requires more development time in the AHL to work on skating and the defensive aspects of the game. He's not a sure thing to make the NHL, but if he can learn to manage the defensive end, Isles may have an Adrain Aucoin on their hands and hopefully not a Marc Bergevin.