Just call it once less thing that Ryan Pulock has to worry about this season. The New York Islanders defenseman will have plenty on his mind being part of the team’s top defensive pairing, but having to think about a new contract for next season won’t be one of them.
Pulock confirmed on Thursday that he had agreed to terms on a new 8-year deal with the Isles. The deal is reportedly worth just shy of $50 million.
“It’s exciting,” Pulock said ahead of the season opener in Carolina. “For me, I just wanted to really be able to focus on this season and clear my head of that and focus on what we need to accomplish here. It’s really exciting for me.”
The expectations for Pulock won’t change much even after this new deal for the 27-year-old defenseman. Pulock, along with Adam Pelech, will be expected to carry a bulk of the minutes on the blue line for New York and find the back of the net a bit more this season.
Ryan Pulock, reportedly signed to an 8x$6.2M extension by NYI, is a high-end top pairing two-way defenceman who's the primary puck-mover on one of the league's best pairings. #Isles pic.twitter.com/bsqupTDbuV
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) October 14, 2021
Pulock averaged 22:27 of ice time during the regular season and in the playoff, it was bumped up to an average of 23:19. He led the Islanders in ice time both in the regular season and the playoffs.
It was his offensive numbers that took a dip last season, with Ryan Pulock only recording 17 points (two goals, 15 assists). The combination of the Islanders scoring taking a dip during the regular season at points and Pulock struggling to score hurt New York during the regular season.
“A big part is just bringing some more offense,” Pulock said. “If you look back on last year defensively, I really liked where my game was at… but offensively, I feel like I have more in me. Just another way to help the team win and I think this year, hopefully, we can try to focus on that and try and find a way to contribute more offensively whether it be power play or 5-on-5.”
Part of the team’s offensive issues will be solved by the upgrades the Islanders have made with the addition of Zach Parise and a returning Anders Lee, who is healthy for the first time since March. Pulock has spent part of the offseason fine-tuning his offensive game as well.
📽 bts 📽 pic.twitter.com/2ajHtYBPmv
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 14, 2021
Even after a “down year” for Pulock, he managed to make his mark as one of the best young defensemen in the league. Now, with the contract out of the way, he should be even more focused on what he needs to do on the ice.
“I think it’s a weight off his mind,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “I know every player deals with it differently, but I know with Ryan I’m sure he’s very, very thankful that it’s done. … He said he really enjoys this group and where this organization is going and I think that’s the thing that I really enjoy.
“Having a good player like Ryan for the long term is essential and as a coach and an organization, you want that.”
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