The No. 14 prospect in our countdown is a converted defenceman, Brandon captain Ryan Pulock.
Stats: Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) | 61 GP | 14 G | 31 A | 45 P | -7 | 22 PIM
Who is Ryan Pulock?
Pulock was drafted by the Wheat Kings in 2009 as a centre. Brandon head coach and GM Kelly McCrimmon tried him as a defenceman at his first training camp that same year, and he never looked back. Pulock finished tied for 13th in league scoring amongst defencemen in a season cut short due to various injuries. He represented Team West at the 2011 world under-17 hockey challenge and captured a bronze medal with Canada at the 2012 under-18 world championship.
Ryan Pulock’s scouting report:
Pulock is an offensive defenceman known most for his booming point shot. He scored 41 goals through three seasons in the WHL and is considered to have among the hardest shots in the WHL, once clocked at 101 miles per hour. His defensive game is adequate, but not considered an asset at this time. Despite his six-foot, 211-pound frame, he uses his size more for positioning than intimidation. The downfalls to his game are overshadowed by the offensive dimension he brings, most notably his power-play presence with a hard and heavy slapshot.
Teams who might be interested in Ryan Pulock:
Pulock may slide in the draft given his dip in production and injury woes this season. Should he fall to the 17th or 18th picks, the Ottawa Senators or Detroit Red Wings could be good fits. The Senators are in good hands in terms of offensive defencemen with the supremely-skilled Erik Karlsson and offensive-minded prospect Cody Ceci. Pulock would bring a different element with his big point shot, which would make the Senators’ defensive core that much more dangerous. Likewise, his hard shot from the point would give the future of the Red Wings another weapon.
Scout’s take: “Pulock burst onto the major junior scene because of his very strong offensive abilities but was forced to play more defensive this year and really rounded himself out as a player,” says Ross MacLean, head scout for International Scouting Services. “He still projects better offensively than defensively but he is now less of a gamble. He is explosive, confident and poised around the puck and is not afraid to take it end-to-end. He makes a great first pass, uses a ton of deception and has the elusive skating ability to win himself space and create crucial lanes. He’s extremely effective on the PP and has a very strong shot. He can also throw some big hits and push and shove around the net with some of the bigger and badder opponents.”
“Pulock labored through various injuries this year,” adds David Burstyn, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “He’s got a thick upper-body but the thing is, he doesn’t always play up to his size. He will hit, he will engage, but he’s not physically intimidating or aggressive. He doesn’t go out of his way to make a hit. He might have the best point shot in the entire draft and his goal totals for Brandon were off the charts. He’d certainly be a power-play option at the NHL level. The problem with him lies in his mobility, especially reverse mobility. He was beaten a lot to the outside and in his own zone. That’s going to be something that he’s going to have to work on at the NHL level.”
Rankings: Pulock was ranked 12th by the NHL’s Central Scouting (North American skaters), 14th by International Scouting Services and 15th by McKeen’s Hockey.