The New York Islanders still have some questions to answer this offseason, though one of those questions will get an answer sooner rather than later. With Ryan Pulock’s arbitration hearing set for Friday, we’ll soon find out what the defenseman’s next contract will look like.
Pulock is coming off another strong year, where he scored 10 goals and 35 points in 68 games. He took on a large role once again, playing on the team’s top pairing and averaging 22:24 per game. Coming off a two-year contract that carried a $2 million AAV, Pulock is due for a pretty large raise.
I had previously projected that Pulock could get up to $7 million per year on an eight-year deal, using contracts from comparable defensemen to make the projection. After seeing this market, that number may be lower, however, a long-term deal for Pulock seems like it may be growing increasingly less likely. With Pulock’s arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday, we’re going to find out how this contract plays out soon and while the two sides may surprise us with a long-term contract before the hearing, if they’re still a ways apart, it would be easier to meet on a number for a short-term contract.
Perhaps the two sides could come together on a three or four-year deal worth between $5 million and $6 million per year, rather than a more expensive seven-year deal at a higher AAV. Obviously, this isn’t the ideal route, as the Islanders would be buying far less UFA years. That said, it’s better than a shorter deal that would walk Pulock to free agency even earlier.
It’s still certainly possible that the two sides do manage to work out a long-term deal in the next couple days. However, with the arbitration date growing closer, we may see a shorter deal get done, in order to avoid arbitration.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Will the Islanders get a deal done with Ryan Pulock before the arbitration hearing on Friday?