In the latest installment of the “2013 First Rounders: Where are they now?” series, we will take a look at Ryan Pulock. Pulock was a Manitoba native who played in the AHL last year for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the OHL for the Brandon Wheat Kings. The defenseman made an impression during his three game introduction at the end of last season.
When and Where was he drafted?
The New York Islanders do not draft players like most teams do. They really just have a different methodology and Pulock ranked pretty high on their radar even though some scouts questioned his first round status.
That is why there is no rush for the 15th pick of the draft either way. The Islanders expect him to battle in training camp for a spot but seem more apt to play him in Bridgeport for a little while.
For a 19 year old, Ryan Pulock did show improvement last year and put on about 25 pounds while improving his skating ability which was thought to be a considerable issue for scouts.
After a great showing in the Ontario Hockey League, the Canadian forward was rewarded with that three game cameo in Bridgeport where he was noticed rather quickly for how much he bulked up and yet seemed a little faster on his skates.
How His Season Went
When a defenseman has nearly a point a game for an OHL team, that is a season which will get the parent club’s notice. 63 points in 66 games with 23 goals. That heavy, right handed shot reminds people of Eric Gelinas more recently. The difference is Pulock is a bit more polished defensively.
What New York Islander fans should be encouraged by is the fact that Pulock keeps improving and quickly. He is nearly 220 pounds heading into training camp in September and should be able to match physicality at the NHL level easily. The shot is NHL level so it comes down to adjustments and NHL pace.
Pulock simply just looks more like an NHL defenseman now than he did a year ago. Time will tell how he fares in 2014-15 but it has become clear that the Islanders really scouted the 19 year old well and were on to something before other teams. Needless to say, whether it is in Bridgeport or on Long Island, an impact will be made.
Sometimes we do not realize what these players accomplish at such a high level. This video is from Brandon. Enjoy this four point game video thanks to Youtube from last October. Here is Ryan Pulock below.
Thoughts on the Future
Again the Islanders do not have to rush Pulock at all and they do not have any intentions of doing so. It will be interesting to see what happens if the defenseman blows the brass away at camp. He really could given his upper body mass gain and improved skating. It is still more likely that he ends up in Bridgeport where he can get ice time and anchor the power play.
Garth Snow was high on Ryan Pulock for what felt like a couple years and it showed in their commitment to him and continued support. The defenseman has flourished and he is one of their top prospects for a reason. New York saw something in him that could not be taught and that was all around talent.
Thanks to Elite Prospects for this quote which is foretelling:
A strong defenseman with a good physical game and a very hard shot. Contributes in both ends and is quite all-round. Needs to work on his skating. (EP, 2013)
There is still a distinct possibility that Pulock could be sent to the AHL but with a strong camp a third pairing role could be possible. Most seem to think 2014-15 is the season that Pulock could see some time in the NHL. Here is a little more from the quote box from “Lighthouse On Hockey“. Keith and Chris take it from here.
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.
Anyone knows that coach Jack Capuano is desperate enough to see what Eric Gelinas did last year but more than likely Ryan Pulock will be allowed to play in Bridgeport for most of the 2014-15 season. Do not be surprised to see him at some point on Long Island.