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.

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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.