This site has had either good luck or bad luck in recent SBNation Mock Drafts, depending on the way you look at it. In 2010, we picked Alexander Burmistrov with the 16th overall pick, and Burmistrov ended up going 8th overall. In 2011, we picked Jonathan Huberdeau in the 6th overall spot only to see him selected 3rd overall. Will Ryan Pulock, our selection in this year's Mock Draft, end up going far earlier in the real draft than 17th overall? Or will he be like last year's choice of Sebastian Collberg at 15th overall in the Mock Draft, when Collberg didn't end up getting selected in reality until the second round?
It's hard to say.
Pulock, an offensive defenseman playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings, has been one of the top point producers on the blueline in the CHL for the past few seasons. Still, opinions of him vary wildly. Corey Pronman at Hockey Prospectus had him at 12th overall in the draft, with a lot of praise for his offensive game:
His offensive game is well rounded, as he is a high-end thinker who has been described as a methodical puck mover. Pulock always seems to make the right decisions, whether it is to rush, pass, or shoot. Defensively, he is strong on his checks, controls his gaps well, and generally stays with his assignments.
Craig Button at TSN, on the other hand, has Pulock at 30th. NHL Central Scouting had him as the 6th best North American in their midterm rankings, but he dropped to 12th among North Americans in their final ranking. Scott at Copper & Blue suggests the reason for the varied opinions is likely because Pulock's play regressed a little bit along with the rest of his Brandon Wheat Kings team upon losing players like Mark Stone at the end of last season.
Whatever the reason for the divide, we still felt Pulock was too good to pass up at 17th overall, considering his ceiling and the team's other defensive prospects. He had 45 points in 61 games to tie his team lead for points, even though he's a blueliner, and that's actually a step back from the 60 points he had last season to finish 3rd among WHL blueliners in points. He has an absolute cannon of a shot from the point -- it was clocked at the Wheat Kings' skills competition at 101 MPH -- and is an asset on the powerplay thanks to his good offensive awareness and soft hands: