Where in the world is New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock? With less than two weeks remaining, we examine this all-important issue.
Coming off two crushing defeats at the Barclays Center to the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators, the New York Islanders find themselves four points behind the Bruins with only seven games remaining on the schedule. A major factor in those losses has been the horrendous power play opportunities in which the Isles have been 0-8, with six of those opportunities coming in that crucial game against the Bruins.
The Islanders power play has been atrocious all season long … we all know that. What can be done to make it effective these last seven games of the year? How about calling up top defensive prospect Ryan Pulock, who’s been patiently waiting in Bridgeport?
At the ripe age of 22, Pulock has a bright NHL future ahead of him. He’s been one of the Islanders top prospects since he was drafted 15th overall in the 2013 NHL draft. Pulock had a brief taste of the NHL last season. He was effective, playing in 15 games, registering two goals and two assists while posting a plus/minus of +1. Pulock played well in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Florida Panthers, recording three points before getting hurt in game six and missing the rest of the playoffs. One of those three points so happened to be a clutch power play goal.
Pulock played in one game with the Islanders this season before getting an upper body injury. When he got healthy, he was sent to Bridgeport where he has been having a successful season. In 46 games played, Pulock has 13 goals, 26 assists, with a plus/minus of +12. Three of his 13 goals have been power play goals, the most for a defenseman on the Sound Tigers.
So while the Islanders have been pushing for the playoffs, why hasn’t their future star defenseman been a part of the push? He was called up at the end of the 2015-2016 season, so why isn’t he here now? During his short time in the NHL, he has been solid and his big frame along with his 105 mph slap shot could be very effective on the powerplay.
Doug Weight loves to use five forwards on the powerplay, but that is only resulting in the Islanders having the 26th ranked powerplay in the NHL. So why not change it up now and put Pulock out there alongside Nick Leddy. They have nothing to lose anyway. The powerplay cannot get any worse than it has been the last two games. Maybe a shakeup like that can turn it around.
But Pulock shouldn’t be up with the team just for the lone fact that he would make the powerplay better. He’s going to be a staple of the team’s defense for years to come. He should be receiving this experience now, to help make him even more NHL-ready for next season. It would also give him a great confidence boost. Getting a call-up during the most crucial part of the season shows how valuable they think of him as a hockey player.
Early in the season, Dennis Seidenberg was playing great. It’s always good to have veterans like him on your team, but as of late he has not been getting the job done. One play, in particular, was against the Columbus Blue Jackets when Seidenberg slipped on a clear attempt to clear and then failed to even get the puck past the blue line on a last chance effort. This allowed Oliver Bjorkstrand to grab the puck and get a one on one with Thomas Greiss to tie the game. That play proved to be costly as the Islanders lost in overtime 3-2.
Scott Mayfield has also not been very effective of late. Looking at his game log, Mayfield hasn’t had a positive game since February 21st against the Detroit Red Wings. These two players are very likable guys, but their play has not been up to par as of late. Does Dough Weight and Garth Snow really think that Pulock cannot be more productive than these two guys? The offense has been struggling of late, but the defense has been the real problem most of the season.
For weeks, Islander fans wanted Josh Ho-Sang to be called up and he was finally given the chance earlier this month. During that span, he’s been one of the most productive and fun guys to watch on the ice. He brought energy to an Islander team that was dealing with the longest road trip in franchise history. Fans have been speculating to why he wasn’t given the chance earlier.
Now we sit here saying the same exact thing about Ryan Pulock. Weight hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Pulock being called up yet.
“We’ll consider everything that’s available,” Weight told the media when asked about Pulock following Monday night’s loss.
The clock is ticking on the Islanders season and a change has to be made. Ryan Pulock isn’t going to be the savior that makes or breaks the Islanders chances for the playoffs. There are way more important guys that need to step up if they want to play into late April, but having Pulock on the ice would definitely make them a better team while helping Pulock progress as a player.