Player: Ryan Pulock
Drafted By: New York Islanders (15th overall)
Final Central Scouting Rating: No. 12 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'1'', 210 lbs
DOB: October 6, 1994 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: WHL, Brandon Wheat Kings
In 2010-11, Ryan Pulock entered the WHL as a rookie with the Brandon Wheat Kings. He laced up the skates in 63 games and managed to post 42 points from the blue line despite playing on a weaker squad.
His points total jumped to 60 points in 2011-12 before 2013 saw him battle through a series of upper-body injuries. He missed 11 games due to injury and played a majority of the year with a cast on his wrist.
Despite his busted arm, he put up 45 points in 61 games. The Wheat Kings were still a lousy team, going 24-40 while Pulock finished second on the team in points. Despite Brandon's troubles, Pulock, who captained the squad in 2013, managed to garner plenty of attention heading into the draft.
Full Scouting Report
You won't listen to a scout talk about Pulock for more than five seconds without hearing a comment about his brutal shot. It's been labeled everything from a sonic boom to a rocket. The important thing, though, is that the kid can pick his corners, and Pulock's slap shot has been clocked at over 100 mph.
Not too shabby for a teenager.
He was utilized as a forward until midget hockey, so there's still the need to polish Pulock's defensive game up a bit. Still, he's coveted for what he brings in the offensive zone. His skill set also begs to have him firing away from the top of an umbrella formation on the power play.
Pulock's hockey sense eases the fear that he'll only be a one-trick pony in the NHL. He's already a fierce crease-clearer in his own zone and, with time and care, his vision and methodology will continue to suit itself more and more for all three zones.
When the opportunity presents itself, Pulock is also an outstanding hitter in the open ice. He could stand to add a little bit of speed to his top-end gear, but that likely won't interfere with his ability to feel the game out at the pro level.
NHL Player Comparison
It took Kevin Shattenkirk several years to develop into the outstanding offensive defenseman that he is today. We like the odds that Pulock could grow along roughly the same curve. He shoots harder than Shattenkirk, but the two play similar games.
The 2015-16 campaign seems right for Pulock, based on what he can do now and what he needs to work on. With a couple extra years of seasoning, he could be poised for a big rookie year in the NHL once he arrives.
If Pulock can duck the injury bug from here on out and develop pretty much perfectly, he could land in Erik Karlsson territory. The former doesn't have the skating abilities of the latter, but the shot is there, and Pulock isn't afraid to carry the puck up ice when the space is there.
It's a bit of a long shot, but the skill set is there for this kid to evolve into a game-breaking presence on defense.