Being drafted by a NHL team is a special accomplishment that is the result of years of hard work, sacrifice and an unbridled determination by both the player and his family. The same can be said of the latest first round pick of the New York Islanders; Manitoba native Ryan Pulock. On June 30th Islanders General Manager Garth Snow selected Ryan 15th overall and now the young teenager has gone from draft hopeful to blue chip prospect.
Ryan has spent his whole life working to get to the moment where he would hear his name called by a NHL team. I recently had the chance to ask Pulock to try and explain what this experience was like for him. “It was for sure a bit of a blur but it was a moment I will remember the rest of my life, hearing my name, walking up on stage and putting on that jersey is something very special.”
It was not only special for Ryan but also his entire family including his dad who has been a lifelong Islander fan. It was a happy coincidence that made draft day even more special for the Pulock family. Ryan was nice enough to share this picture of him as a kid and you can clearly see that his dad had him dressed correctly even as a child. “My dad has been an islander fan all his life so obviously me getting drafted was very special for him but for it to be the islanders made it that much better.”
The 6’1” offensive defenseman had little time to rest on his accomplishment as days later Ryan and dozens of other Islander prospects met in Long Island for Islander Rookie camp. The camp is a chance for prospects to shine in front of the Islander coaching staff. It’s also gives prospects a chance to see how they fair against a much higher level of hockey. Pulock had a positive impression of his first rookie camp. “Rookie camp was a great experience, I enjoyed meeting more people from the organization and other prospects and just getting a feel for the level of hockey, I think overall it was a great experience.”
Ryan’s resume to this point is gaudy. He was rated by NHL Central Scouting as the 12th best player in his draft class and boasts the hardest recorded shot of his peers at a whopping 100 miles per hour. He was also regarded by many scouts as the defenseman with the highest offensive potential in the entire draft. Despite this impressive resume, Pulock knows that he is not a finished product and has to continue to round out his game. “Well I am two way defensemen with alot of offensive upside, I like to be engaged offensively. I can also run a power play and I also have a pretty good shot.” Ryan was extremely modest about his shot; it’s a laser. Pulock also understands what the Islanders want from him when NHL training camps open in September. “Well there expectations are for me to keep working on my game and improving so that I can be ready to take the next step.”
If Ryan does not make the Islanders out of training camp he will return to his junior team in the Western Hockey League; the Brandon Wheat Kings. Expect to see Pulock pushing for a spot with the Islanders in the near future. As the Islanders continue to grow as a competitive team they will be counting on Ryan Pulock to be a major contributor.
For more on Ryan and his career follow him on twitter @rpulock2. Photos courtesy of Ryan Pulock, Newsday and the Associated Press. I appreciate any and all feedback and for more on all things hockey follow me on twitter @DanDanNoodles78.