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Bridge Work: Pulock agrees to two-year extension with Islanders

Another box bites the dust.

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders
Gimme dat bread. I’ll be back for more.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Islanders and defenseman Ryan Pulock have agreed to terms on a two-year contract extension, ticking another task off Lou Lamoriello’s summer to-do list.

The 23-year-old Pulock was qualified at $874,125, per Andrew Gross of Newsday, but his final AAV is $2 million according to Cap Friendly.

Fellow young defensemen Devon Toews and Kyle Burroughs were signed to two-year deals yesterday and are making $700,000 and $675,000 respectively, also according to Cap Friendly. All three will remain restricted free agents at the end of their new contracts, although Pulock will be eligible for arbitration.

But Pulock was the bigger fish to fry for Lamoriello, and there’s a good case to be made that he was the Islanders’ best all-round defenseman last season. He led all rookie defensemen in goals with 10, which also tied Nick Leddy for the team lead. Pulock’s 22 assists were fourth among rookie defensemen in the NHL. With the injury losses of Johnny Boychuk and Calvin de Haan (the latter for half the season), Pulock also improved his defensive game by season’s end, which was thought to be his weak spot. He turned enough heads to make Team Canada at the World Championships along with teammates Mathew Barzal, Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle and Anthony Beauvillier.

Thanks to ill-timed injuries and boneheaded management, it took a while for Pulock to find a place on the big club’s roster after a couple of very strong seasons for Bridgeport of the AHL. The Dauphin, Manitoba native finally seems to be on the right track to big things, not the least of which because he now has a head coach who’s from his same home town in former Magnum, P.I. impersonator Barry Trotz:

It’s a small league, man.

As for the short “bridge” deal, there are a few ways to look at it. If you’re a person that likes to live in the now (or if, like me, your tolerance for the excruciating penny-pinching minutia of obsessive NHL fandom has dropped by approximately 96 percent since about July 2nd), then the Islanders locking up a talented young player on a favorable deal for the foreseeable future is cause for a brief sigh of relief before returning to the rest of your day.

If you’re someone who’s worried about the snowball effect every dollar has on your team’s salary cap situation down the road, then you might be worried that, should Pulock continue his upward trajectory, his next contract could be for mucho dinero at or about the same time in which Barzal’s next contract could be for mucho, mucho dinero ay carumba!

It’s likely that Pulock and his agent preferred taking a shorter deal now and looking for a larger payday later. If it makes you feel any better, there’ll probably be a lockout by then in which case, everyone will get screwed over, including, most importantly, us.

The Islanders’ final RFA is Brock Nelson, whose arbitration hearing is set for August 3rd, although sides can settle at anytime right up until before the hearing begins.