Defense, Brandon Wheat Kings
6’0″, 211 lbs
Born: October 6, 1994 – Dauphin, Manitoba
A rough season with the Brandon Wheat Kings has somewhat soured Ryan Pulock’s status as a top 10 NHL prospect. While The Hockey News still ranks Pulock at 10th, NHL Central Scouting has dropped the young defenseman to 12th among North American skaters after being ranked 6th in the midterm rankings.
The Wheat Kings captain scored 45 points (14 G – 31 A) in 61 games this year, but the Wheat Kings finished in dead last in the WHL’s Eastern Conference, missing the playoffs. In three seasons, Pulock has scored 147 points (41 G – 106 A) in 195 WHL games, with another 11 points (5 G – 6 A) in 15 career playoff games. From the get-go, Pulock was an impact player for Brandon…some might say that he was the only impact player for the team this season.
Pulock earns an “Excellent” rating from the International Scouting Service for his shot, while garnering “Very Good” in all other measured categories except for his size and strength, which the 6’0″, 211 pound player earns a “Good” ranking. In fact, Pulock won the WHL’s hardest shot competition this year with a 101 mph rocket. In terms of intangibles, his leadership ability is praised by virtually all scouting services – especially after it was put to the test this season when Brandon won just 24 of their 72 games. His prowess on the power play has also been extolled – Pulock has a knack for sneaking into the slot on the power play and unleashing his cannon.
Most of Pulock’s weaknesses appear to be in his play either in the defensive zone or when he does not have the puck. While the ISS ranks Pulock as “Very Good” skater, McKeen’s calls his skating into question, referring to him as “a choppy skater due to a short, slushy stride.” What most scouts appear to agree on, however, is that Pulock does not play aggressively enough for his frame. According to Future Considerations, “He gets caught waving his stick around when he should be eliminating his opponent with a strong physical play or clearing the crease.” McKeen’s is more to the point, saying that he is “not that aggressive initiating contact” and “stops moving his feet and throwing hits”. However, HockeyProspects.com tries to explain away many of these shortcomings by pointing out that “he received very little help from his teammates all season long, and was often left on his own to try to do everything.”
If Pulock can get the kinks worked out, his style compares favorably to Dan Boyle and could become a threat from the point on an NHL power play.
|NHL Central Scouting||12th (North American)|
|The Hockey News||10th|
For all 2013 NHL Draft Coverage, click here.
Photo Credit: Tim Smith, Brandon Wheat Kings