Islanders acquire Robert Bortuzzo from Blues after placing Ryan Pulock on IR

Robert Bortuzzo Islanders
Dec 20, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (41) advances the puck while being defended by Seattle Kraken left wing Jared McCann (19) during the first period at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

With their defensive ranks thinning, the Islanders acquired veteran blueliner Robert Bortuzzo from the St. Louis Blues for a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft on Friday. 

The 34-year-old had appeared in just four games this season with the Blues, a franchise he had spent the last decade with and won a Stanley Cup with in 2019. Over 14 pro seasons that began with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he’s appeared in 537 regular-season games and 55 playoff games with 20 goals and 54 assists. 

With a right-handed shot and physical profile, Bortuzzo is a plus skater and reliable puck mover who can slot in at the middle of the Islanders’ lineup. 

Robert Bortuzzo Islanders
Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

He will fill in for Ryan Pulock, who was placed on injured reserve earlier on Friday after suffering a lower-body injury after blocking a shot during New York’s 7-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Islanders have been forced to mix and match its defense all season due to an onslaught of injuries. Adam Pelech and Sebastian Aho were already on injured reserve — the former placed on LTIR — forcing them to claim veteran Mike Reilly off waivers from the Flordia Panthers. 

Young defenseman Samuel Bolduc has also had an extended run on New York’s second pairing alongside Pulock, but his loss means another shuffling of the blue line could be in the cards upon Bortuzzo’s arrival. 

For more on the Islanders and Robert Bortuzzo, visit AMNY.com