Ryan Pulock's big moment on the Barclays Center ice Wednesday night came after the Blue/White scrimmage concluded. His 105-mph slap shot won the hardest-shot competition among the prospects assembled for this week's camp.
A nice accolade, but hardly the thing Pulock wants as his best Barclays Center memory this season. The 21-year-old defenseman has a path to making the Islanders' roster, and he is well aware that his time may come when the big club convenes for training camp in September.
"He's one of the young guys we know will be fighting for a job in camp," Jack Capuano said. "I think he has a clear understanding of what's expected of him."
Pulock also had his highest and lowest moments at Barclays Center last training camp. He scored the first Islanders goal in Brooklyn in a preseason game against the Devils last September and had an all-around strong game, pushing him into consideration for a roster spot as a 20-year-old.
He also suffered a groin injury that night that essentially ended his training camp and his shot at making the team.
Griffin Reinhart, a fellow first-year pro, opened the season with the Islanders before joining Pulock in Bridgeport.
Reinhart was dealt to the Oilers on draft day two weeks ago, leaving Pulock at the head of the defense prospect pack this offseason.
"Obviously, he's been traded, but that doesn't give me a free spot," Pulock said. "I'm still fighting for every inch. Things haven't really changed that way, but I guess it's one less prospect fighting for that same spot."
Pulock had a strong season offensively for Bridgeport. He scored 17 goals, including 13 on the power play. His rocket shot could help an Islanders power play that faltered at the worst possible time last season, going 0-for-14 against the Capitals in the playoffs.
Pulock did come up to the Islanders during that playoff series, but he was passed over twice for active duty after injuries to Lubomir Visnovsky and Calvin de Haan. Reinhart played Game 5 and Scott Mayfield played Games 6 and 7.
"For myself, I was just trying to stay prepared," Pulock said. "It was their decision . . . Seeing that Game 7, Stanley Cup playoffs, it's something that can only help me down the road."
"He handled it real well," Capuano said. "He understands what he can bring, especially with that offense from the back end. We had a good talk [in April], and we had a good talk this week about how he needs to be prepared the next couple months."
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