Islanders reportedly extend Pulock, lock down underrated pairing

Islanders reportedly extend Pulock, lock down underrated pairing
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Gradually, the hockey world is realizing that the Islanders have a special defense pairing in Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech.

It looks like the Islanders locked both Pulock and Pelech to long-term contracts before that mainstream attention could translate to bank-breaking deals.

During the offseason, the Islanders signed Pelech to an eight-year contract that carries a bargain $5.75M cap hit. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the Islanders signed Ryan Pulock to an eight-year contract worth a bit less than $50M.

If Dreger’s report is accurate, Pulock’s extension would translate to a cap hit of around $6.25M starting in 2021-22. (Pulock’s current $5M cap hit expires after this season.)

Reported Pulock extension locks down underrated Islanders pairing

Amusingly, Lou Lamoriello might be most worthy of GM of the Year for what he’s accomplished after taking home that award.

In a time when other teams are overextending for defensemen they hope can form half of a great top pairing, the Islanders know what they’re getting in Pulock – Pelech. With that reported Pulock extension, the Islanders keep the two outstanding 27-year-olds in the fold for the long haul.

Pelech, 27, is locked in with the Islanders through the 2028-29 season. Pulock, also 27, would see his reported extension with the Islanders run from 2022-23 through 2029-30.

Considering the term for Pelech and Pulock, it’s possible that eventually, those deals might sting a bit for the Islanders.

But even that’s a bit of a stretch. These two still have prime years left, and at a combined $11.5M, normal regression should be easy to stomach.

Most likely, the Islanders lined up two steals while other teams overpay for less certainty with defensemen. Sure, you can picture someone like Seth Jones and Darnell Nurse scoring more points than Pulock – Pelech. But generating more value overall? The Islanders’ pairing are a safer — and it turns out, much cheaper — bet.

With these deals, the Islanders have a strong chance to be a nightmare to play against for years to come.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.