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Pulock on IR as Islanders Acquire Robert Bortuzzo from Blues for 7th-round pick

The Islanders’ blueline health issues continue.

New York Islanders v St Louis Blues
Looking for a guy willing to push a guy into his own goalie.
Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images

Further blueline health concerns have forced the New York Islanders to add to their blueline for the second time in two weeks with the low-cost acquisition (2024 7th-round pick) of Robert Bortuzzo from the St. Louis Blues.

The trade follows news that Ryan Pulock has been placed on IR with a lower body injury. A couple of weeks ago when Adam Pelech and Sebastian Aho were both hurt in the same game, the Isles quickly grabbed Mike Reilly off waivers from the Panthers. Now they have Bortuzzo, a right shot, at a $950,000 cap hit. Bortuzzo is a big penalty kill guy, so perhaps in the long run he might also spell Scott Mayfield, who has struggled recently and conceded that it’s taken a while to recover from his own injury.

Bortuzzo is a longtime Blue and a beloved member of their 2019 Cup winner, but he has been passed on the depth chart and only appeared in four games thus far this season, at age 34. Among Blues fans, this will be a “but why?” move since Bortuzzo’s cap hit is so low, while the rest of the blueline is part of their cap problem.

(As the prime example: Surviving the purge is Marco Scandella, who is maligned in part because GM Doug Armstrong extended him on a four-year, $3.25M AAV deal with a no-trade clause very soon after acquiring him from Minnesota, a move that seemed rash then and has not aged well now; and in part because he is prone to the kind of decisions that currently have Scott Mayfield as the target of Islanders fans’ wrath.)

Bortuzzo in no way matches Pulock’s profile (other than both being righty’s). But in terms of an emergency move, this is fine.