What Are the Islanders Doing with Ryan Pulock?

In the last week of November, Ryan Pulock thought his dream of playing in the NHL might be coming to fruition as he was scratched from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers weekend games.   It was thought that the Islanders who are dealing with multiple injuries on defense were going to call up the top young prospect.  As it turned out, Griffin Reinhart, who had seen a little time earlier this year with the Islanders got recalled.  It didn’t end there though as last Friday Pulock finally got called up to the Islanders after the team placed Travis Hamonic on IR.  However, his stay was short-lived as he was sent back to Bridgeport the following day after warm ups for the Islanders game against the Blues.

A Good Start

While he played a few games for Bridgeport last season, this is Pulock’s first full professional season after 4 years with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL.  He hasn’t disappointed as in 21 games with the Sound Tigers Pulock has accumulated 14 points including 9 goals.  Those 9 goals tie him for the team lead in that category with Harry Zolnierczyk.  He has proved to be a huge weapon for Bridgeport on the power play as 8 of his 9 goals have come with the man advantage.  With the impressive start to his rookie campaign and the Islanders rash of injuries it would make sense for Pulock to be recalled.

A Confusing Weekend

On Friday, the Islanders announced that they would be moving defenseman Travis Hamonic to IR and calling up Pulock from Bridgeport.  He was set to join the team the next day for their game against the Blues.  He would dress for warm ups that afternoon and following warm ups it would be decided if he were going to make his NHL debut or not.  Obviously, we now know that he was scratched in favor of Brian Strait and ultimately returned to Bridgeport with Lubomir Visnovsky set to return for Tuesdays game against the Wild.  While he was able to take the ice for the Islanders, his NHL debut will have to wait a little while longer.  The demotion back to Bridgeport will hopefully end what I am sure has been a confusing time for the young defenseman.

Where Would He Fit?

With the Islanders already having 6 healthy defensemen and a 7th very close in Visnovsky, where Pulock would exactly fit is a fair question.  Before the return of Visnovsky, I would say he would take the spot of Brian Strait.  However, with the return of Visnovsky, I think Bridgeport is the best spot for Pulock now.  Although, if the teams defensive play begins to falter, he should absolutely be given a look, especially if he is able to continue to excel with Bridgeport.  At the very least, if his play in Bridgeport is any indication, he would help out the Islanders power play which has had its struggles at points this season.  He would also give the Islanders a right handed shot from the blue line that they are currently lacking with both Johnny Boychuk and Travis Hamonic out with injuries.

When Will We See Him?

With his debut being delayed, people are wondering when we will finally be able to see him in the NHL?  As has been stated, with the Islanders getting Visnovsky back, Bridgeport is where Pulock will be for the time being.  However, I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if Pulock were to make his NHL debut by the All Star Game.  Once he gets in the lineup, I just have a sense with Pulock that he is going to make it awfully hard on the Islanders coaching staff to scratch him.