Top Prospect Pulock Battling Veteran Strait For Spot In Third Pairing On Blueline

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the regular season opener approaches, the  Islanders are a little nicked up.

The team announced several injuries on Tuesday, including defenseman Thomas Hickey, who could miss up to a month with an upper body injury.

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The injury appears to have provided an opportunity for 20-year-old Ryan Pulock to at least start the season with the Islanders. During the summer Pulock, the 15th overall pick in the 2013 Entry Draft, was thought to have a legit shot to make the team, but the Isles went out and signed veteran Marek Zidlicky just before the start of training camp, pushing all the hopefuls down a spot.

Pulock will battle veteran Brian Strait for the sixth spot in the days leading up to the Oct. 9 season opener against defending champion Chicago at Barclays Center. It’s expected that Hickey will resume his role in the top six when he’s healthy.

Steve Bernier, who was also signed shortly before the start of camp, will miss up to two weeks with a lower body injury and starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak is day-to-day with an upper body ailment, the Islanders announced.

The Islanders signed veteran backup Thomas Greiss during the offseason.

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The club also announced Tuesday that it had returned top forward prospects Michael Dal Colle abd Anthony Beauvillier to their respective junior clubs.