Thursday, 27 January 2011

Pulock Deserves ROY Consideration

This is my official nomination for Ryan Pulock to be given consideration for the Western Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year Award.

The 16-year old defenceman hasn’t garnered league-wide, at least not yet, but the Grandview, Manitoba product has been an invaluable member of the Wheat Kings’ blueline since the start of the season.

135 players were chosen before Brandon plucked the 6-foot-0, 193 pound Pulock in the seventh round of the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, a draft that included defencemen being selected with the first four picks – Derrick Pouliot (Portland), Morgan Rielly (Moose Jaw), Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton) and Matt Dumba (Red Deer).

Pulock has played in Brandon’s top four for most of the season and is currently fourth among rookie defenceman in scoring this season with four goals and 22 points in 42 games.

“Coming in, I didn’t think I’d get to play this much and put up as many numbers as I have,” said Pulock after the Wheat Kings’ practice Thursday in Calgary, “Now that I have, it’s definitely positive and I want to keep moving forward.”

Pulock’s play this season has him drawing comparisons to some other quality young defencemen that have coming into the organization and performed well in their rookie seasons, but the last time a 16-year old stepped in and played in Brandon’s top four for the entire season was likely 1993-94, when Wade Redden and Justin Kurtz both played major minutes with Brandon.

One of Pulock’s strongest attributes is his calm demeanor, something that serves him very well as he plays with the poise of a veteran.

“I don’t get to worked up with little things, I try to stay positive,” says Pulock, who isn’t eligible for the NHL Draft until 2013, “When bad things go wrong, I try to just ignore in and try and do better next shift.”

Pulock played with Team West at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, picking up one goal in five games while the other amazing stat for Pulock is the fact he’s been penalized just once this season, a minor penalty for holding back on November 15th in a game in Regina.

That’s as strong of an indication as any that he rarely gets caught out of position, makes smart decisions with the puck and has the skating ability to stay with even the speediest of WHL forwards.

It’ll be interesting to see how the learning curve continues for Pulock as he progresses through his WHL career.

Chaff…Veteran Brandon D Brodie Melnychuk missed practice on Thursday as he continues to be hampered by an ankle injury that has caused him to miss two of the last three games…Melnychuk’s next game will be the 250th of his career…after scoring one shorthanded goal in their first 49 games of the regular season, the Wheat Kings have scored three shorthanded goals in the last two games (two by Shayne Wiebe, one by Scott Glennie)…former Wheat Kings’ captain Keith Aulie will play in the AHL’s All-Star game on Monday. Aulie has three goals, nine points and a +1 rating in 32 games with the Toronto Marlies while also appearing in 12 games with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs this season…31 of Brandon’s 51 games this season have been decided by two goals or less, with the Wheat Kings going 9-14-1-7 in those 31 games.

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