Big news for New York Islanders fans! Defenceman Ryan Pulock is being activated off of long-term injured reserve ahead of tonight’s matchup against the Ottawa Senators. Pulock has been a staple on the Islanders’ blueline during both of their recent runs to the Eastern Conference Finals. He has missed 25 games following a lower-body injury he suffered during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 15th. That means that Pulock has yet to play at UBS Arena, the Islanders’ newly-built home stadium.

Not only does this finally see the return of the Islanders’ top defence pairing, made up of Pulock and NHL All-Star Adam Pelech, but it also gives the Isles another option on their powerplay, which has been running at an atrocious 17% this year. His addition to the lineup will do wonders for a team that has had a disappointing and extremely difficult season, which began with a 13-game road trip, followed by Covid-related postponements, before the Islanders could finally get themselves on track. They are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games, suggesting things may finally be turning around in Long Island, and Pulock’s return only increases that feeling.

Formerly the 15th-overall selection by the Islanders in 2013, Pulock is currently playing in his 7th NHL season. He was signed last October to a massive 8-year extension that will pay him an AAV of $6.15 million over that span. On top of his 302 regular-season games played, Pulock has appeared in 55 playoff games, scoring 7 goals and 20 points. His most famous contribution in the post-season, however, was this save on Ryan McDonagh in Game 4 of the Conference Finals against Tampa Bay, where Pulock helped preserve a 3-2 victory for the Islanders in the dying seconds of the 3rd period. Glad to have you back Ryan!

Photo credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

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