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With new deal in place, Ryan Pulock can focus on Islanders' season

Ryan Pulock of the New York Islanders takes

Ryan Pulock of the New York Islanders takes a shot against the New York Rangers during the second period of a preseason game at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.  Credit: Steven Ryan

RALEIGH, N.C. — Ryan Pulock wanted to settle next offseason’s business before this season began, if possible. So, apparently, did the Islanders.

The sides committed to each other long term, as Pulock confirmed on Thursday before the Islanders’ season opener against the Hurricanes at PNC Arena that he has agreed to an eight-year extension believed to be worth $49.2 million.

"Yeah, it’s exciting," Pulock said. "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."

The Islanders now have their top-pair defensemen — Adam Pelech agreed to an eight-year, $46 million deal in August — locked up long term with both 27-year-olds under team-friendly salary-cap charges given the going market rate. Pulock is completing a two-year, $10 million deal and would have been an unrestricted free agent.

For instance, the Devils signed former Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year, $63 million deal this offseason to anchor their top pair. And Seth Jones agreed to an eight-year, $76 million extension after being traded to Chicago in July.

"I think we complement each other," Pulock said of Pelech. "It’s a great situation for both of us to be able to play here on the Island and be partners."

Pulock’s new deal reportedly carries a no-trade clause through the first five seasons and then a modified no-trade clause for the final three seasons. Pelech’s deal includes a no-trade clause from 2022-25 and then a modified no-trade clause — a no-trade list of 16 teams — over the final four seasons.

The Islanders selected the right-shooting Pulock with the 15th overall pick in 2013 and he has 33 goals and 92 assists in 290 NHL regular-season games, plus seven goals and 13 assists in 55 playoff games. He had two goals and 15 assists over 56 games last season before adding four goals and two assists in 19 playoff games as the Islanders reached the NHL semifinals for the second straight season.

"For every organization, the off-ice stuff can get in the way of success sometimes," coach Barry Trotz said. "For Ryan, it’s deserved. And it’s a weight off of his mind. Every player deals with it differently. I know with Ryan, I’m sure he’s very thankful it’s done. And he really enjoys this group and where this organization is going. Having a good player like Ryan for the long term is essential."

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