Derrick Pouliot

by Mark Allan on January 13, 2017

 

 

Derrick Pouliot, D

Shoots: L

Height: 6-0

Weight: 207

Born: 1994-01-16

Hometown: Weyburn, Saskatchewan

Draft: 8th overall by Pittsburgh in 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observations:

January 2017 – At a glance, it seems the highly touted blueline prospect is still underachieving. After all, the former eighth-overall pick has zero points in seven NHL games this season, adding seven in 14 games in the AHL, where he's been playing in the new year. However, appearances can be deceiving. For starters, Pouliot was felled for an extended period by an injury he suffered in his NHL season debut. He appears to be rediscovering his mojo with Wilkes-Barre Scranton. Exhibit A? This January goal against Hershey. Head coach Clark Donatelli was just as impressed with his budding star's defensive effort. Pouliot is just turning 23, so he has lots of time to still make his mark on the NHL. Mark Allan

November 2016 – Pouliot will test himself on a conditioning assignment with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Sidelined since suffering a lower-body injury Oct. 20 in his first NHL outing of the season, the highly touted yet slow-to-develop prospect is scheduled to play three AHL games this weekend. He'll be evaluated by team medical staff when he subsequently returns to Pittsburgh. After that, he'll again be evaluated by the coaching staff, which still has to be convinced that his defensive play has matured sufficiently for NHL icetime. Mark Allan

October 2016 – Pouliot's long-awaited NHL coming-out party is on indefinite hold after he suffered an undisclosed lower-body injury during Thursday's 3-2 win over San Jose. The Penguins almost immediately placed their foremost blueline prospect on the IR list, and GM Jim Rutherford indicated he would be out of action for "a while." After being a healthy scratch in Pittsburgh's first three games, an indication that his defensive play hasn't yet gained the confidence of head coach Mike Sullivan, Pouliot got in 12:29 of ice time before suffering the mysterious injury. Already missing Kris Letang, Pittsburgh recalled David Warsofsky from the AHL. Mark Allan

September 2016 – It's just the first day of Pittsburgh's training camp, but Pouliot is impressing early with his skating and apparent determination on a pairing with Trevor Daley. “He’s had the best summer of any player on our team,” raves GM Jim Rutherford. “It’s a huge difference from where he was last year at this time. I expect Derrick to make a big jump. I truly do. He’s in a great position right now. He’s so talented. You’re going to see a different player this year, I’m telling you.” Assuming Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Trevor Daley and Brian Dumoulin are safe bets to open the season in the NHL, Pouliot needs to beat Ian Cole or Justin Schultz for a top-six role. The impressive physical specimen is more talented than either of them. All that is standing in his way is his defensive-zone play. This could be the season the former eighth-overall draft pick sticks in the big league. Mark Allan

June 2016 – Barring the addition of an experienced blueliner (unlikely given Pittsburgh's cap crunch), the welcome mat will be out at the Penguins' training camp after UFA Ben Lovejoy signed a three-year contract with the Devils paying $2.6 million annually. The talented Pouliot has been slow to master the art of defense at the NHL level, but a third-pairing job seems to be his in Pittsburgh if his game evolves this summer. Mark Allan

June 2016 – If you are inclined to argue that defense is the hardest hockey position to learn, you might use Pouliot to illustrate your case. Gifted with practically all of the superior abilities you could wish for in a player – exceptional mobility, elite offensive hockey IQ and vision, a cannon point shot and decent size, the former first-rounder is still learning how to play defense at the NHL level. With 23 points in 37 games in his second AHL season and (more importantly) a plus-15 rating, the first-time league all-star was summoned to the NHL. There, he never seemed to gain the confidence of coach Mike Sullivan, as Pouliot had seven quiet assists in 22 league games followed by limited action in just two pointless post-season contests. That said, Pouliot is just 22 and just saw firsthand how you win the Stanley Cup. He'll be motivated to shine in the coming season, his last before restricted free agency. Mark Allan

March 2016 – Pouliot is learning by observing, as he's been a healthy scratch four games in a row since Justin Schultz was acquired from Edmonton and has taken Pouliot's spot on the third pairing with Ian Cole. In spite of dropping to second among Pittsburgh's prospects behind goalie Matt Murray in the 2016 Future Watch, Pouliot still has a bright future in the NHL, although Pittsburgh is going with the more experienced Schultz in the crucible of a playoff race. Mark Allan

February 2016 – Earning his latest promotion with a plus-15 rating in the AHL, the franchise's top prospect is playing with much more assurance than in previous callups. On a third-pairing with hardrock D-man Ben Lovejoy, the gifted Pouliot is not trying to do too much offensively. In 10 NHL games, he has three assists and is averaging a tick under a SOG per game. His minus-2 is not hurting the Penguins as much as some fellow blueliners and, once he gets the defensive side of the game under control, Pittsburgh will unleash his offense, likely not before next season. Mark Allan

January 2016 – Scoring less while concentrating, at Pittsburgh's insistence, on his defensive game, Pouliot has nonetheless been named to play in the AHL all-star game. It's not like the super-skilled offenseman has stopped scoring – he's tied for sixth in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scoring with 18 points in 34 games – but he's also plus-15, which is the kind of thing that will guarantee an NHL promotion. Mark Allan

November 2015 – Pittsburgh's No. 1 prospect is doing what he does best – scoring at an almost point-per-game clip from the blueline. In 16 AHL games since being demoted for defensive shortcomings, Pouliot has four goals and 10 assists. He's tied at plus-11 for the team lead with the powerhouse 15-2 AHL Penguins, which is what Pittsburgh management wants to see. He's also bulked up to get his weight above 200 pounds. He will be an NHL top-four defenseman and power-play stud once his defense reaches an acceptable standard. Mark Allan

October 2015 – After failing to demonstrate he can play an acceptable defensive game, Pittsburgh's top prospect is back in the AHL. Pouliot knows what he has to work on and he trained harder in the off-season than ever before, so it's only a matter of time before he's back up with Pittsburgh. He could be only one Penguin D-Man injury away from a recall, but learning to play defense takes as long as it takes. Mark Allan

October 2015 – The offensively brilliant young blueliner continues to demonstrate he's not defrensively ready for the NHL. In a 7-2 pre-season loss to visiting Detroit, Pouliot assisted on Beau Bennett's third goal of the exhibition season, but the 21-year-old was minus-2. As much as Pittsburgh needs him to assume a heavy NHL workload ASAP on its transitioning, unsettled blueline, Pouliot might leave head coach Mike Johnston no choice but to send him back to the AHL to work on his defense. If Pouliot does make Pittsburgh's opening-day roster, expect him to function more as a power-play specialist with limited, "safe" minutes otherwise. Mark Allan   

September 2015 – The offensively gifted youngster is not enhancing his odds of cracking Pittsburgh's roster. On the ice for five goals against in his first two pre-season games, Pouliot has been criticized by coach Mike Johnston for being too slow to get to loose pucks and for holding onto the puck too long. His offensive skill is undeniable, but if he doesn't start handling the puck more efficiently, he'll find himself back in the AHL. That would be a real missed opportunity, as there are jobs available on Pittsburgh's blueline. Mark Allan

September 2015 – The Penguins' braintrust got a good look at Pittsburgh's top prospect in a 6-1 pre-season loss to Detroit. Pouliot led all Penguins with 22:35 in ice time, including 4:16 on the power play and 1:50 killing penalties. In spite of logging heavy minutes and going pointless, he was only minus-1, adding two shots on goal, a blocked shot and two hits. All he needs to make Pittsburgh's roster is to show he's stronger with an elevated commitment to defense. Mark Allan

September 2015 – A 34-game NHL baptism apparently convinced the gifted young defenseman he needs to be in better shape. Moving to Toronto for the summer, Pouliot trained with former NHL star Gary Roberts on his own initiative. The offensively creative blueliner needs to tighten his defensive game if he’s going to be one of the 10 or more defensemen in training camp to earn an opening-day roster berth. Mark Allan

August 2015 – Pittsburgh's top-ranked prospect enters the season only 21 but with a shot at landing a regular NHL gig. A second-pairing slot is possible, although defensive shortcomings could lead to a more-sheltered role on the third pairing or even more AHL seasoning. His creativity, skating, shot and ofensive flair will earn him power-play time no matter what team he's with. Mark Allan

March 2015 – When they promoted forward Andrew Ebbett (tied for the scoring lead on the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins), Pittsburgh sent defenseman Pouliot the other way. In 26 NHL games this season, Pouliot has only two goals and three assists, although both goals intriguingly were game-winners. A minus-two rating, four PIMs and a lone power-play point are not peripheral stats that will keep you up with the big boys. However, he’s second on his AHL team in scoring among blueliners with 24 points in just 31 games. It’s not as if Pittsburgh has given up on him as a prospect, especially after they dealt fellow young defensemen Simon Depres, Robert Bortuzzo and Philip Samuelsson. In fact, it’s rumoured that Pouliot was demoted to keep Pittsburgh under the cap when Evgeni Malkin was hurt and Ebbett promoted. Mark Allan

January 2015 – Pittsburgh’s top prospect was returned Jan. 12 to the AHL after injured D-Men Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff returned to the Pittsburgh lineup. Pouliot notched his first NHL goal in his debut Dec. 20. Totalling a goal and two helpers in seven NHL games, the immensely skilled 20-year-old leads the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in assists (13) and points (20) in 23 games, and was named to the Eastern Conference roster for the 2015 AHL all-star game. The 2013-14 CHL and WHL defenseman of the Year will continue to refine his overall game while awaiting another NHL callup. Mark Allan

December 2014 – Pittsburgh’s top prospect, 20th overall in the NHL, has at least temporarily earned an NHL roster spot. He stayed up when fellow blueliner Brian Dumoulin was demoted to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. The 20-year-old Pouliot is graced with exceptional mobility, coupled with an elite hockey IQ and vision, plus a cannon point shot. Called up earlier in the day, he demonstrated his gifts with a goal in his first NHL game, a 3-1 win Dec. 20 over Florida. The rookie went to open ice at the right faceoff dot, took a pass from Steve Downie and wristed the eventual winning goal, beating Roberto Luongo under the crossbar. Pouliot is a known commodity to Pittsburgh head coach Mike Johnston, who coached him in the WHL. Even after playing in the NHL for four games, Pouliot still leads the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in scoring. Mark Allan

December 2014 – A rebound off a redirect by Pouliot was potted Dec. 14 at 3:10 of overtime by Adam Payerl in a 3-2 AHL victory for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins over the Hershey Bears. Pouliot, Pittsburgh’s top-ranked prospect, leads all AHL rookies and defensemen with 13 points, including four goals, on the power play. Mark Allan

December 2014 – Although tied for second in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scoring with 13 points in 16 games, the skilled rearguard was minus-three and was bypassed when Pittsburgh promoted Brian Dumoulin in the wake of an injury to Kris Letang and a suspension to Robert Bortuzzo. In his first AHL season, Pouliot registered points in the first nine home games he played in and is tied for the longest home point streak in the league this season. He continues to work on his defensive positioning, but if Pittsburgh needs offense from the back end, Pouliot is tied for the AHL lead with 10 points on the power play. Pouliot would make an attractive trade chip if GM Jim Rutherford deals for a skilled winger, although the Pens might still be grooming him to be an eventual replacement for Letang. Mark Allan

November 2014 - The mobile young blueliner’s seven-game point streak (two goals and seven assists) ended Nov. 16 in Hershey. His run was the fifth-longest in the AHL this season. Mark Allan

November 2014 - Playing himself back into shape after off-season shoulder surgery, the mobile blueliner is maintaining a point-per-game clip with the AHL’s Penguins. After missing the first four games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he compiled two goals and six assists in his first eight games of the season. He scored on a blast from the point in a 5-4 win over the Syracuse Crunch as the Penguins had a three-win weekend, solidifying first place in the East Division. Mark Allan

October 2014 - Pittsburgh’s top blueline prospect scored his first career pro goal October 26th for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 3-2 win over the Binghamton Senators. Playing himself back into shape after off-season shoulder surgery, the mobile and offensively gifted blueliner drove in a point shot on a power play. While he missed the first four games with the AHL’s Penguins, Pouliot had a goal and two assists in four subsequent games. Olli Maatta’s misfortune might be an opening for Pouliot with the big club. Although Maatta will play right up to surgery next week to remove a possibly cancerous thyroid tumor from his throat, Maatta will not be able to play for three to four weeks. In another week, Pouliot might have a chance to show what he can do in the NHL. Mark Allan 

October 2014 - Pittsburgh’s prized blueline prospect will begin his 2014-15 season in the AHL once he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery. The initial prognosis in May was a four- to six-month absence, and a return date remains unclear but he is skating with the team in a no-contact jersey. Mark Allan

May 2014 - Derrick Pouliot has had shoulder labral repair surgery, and will be out 4-6 months. This is major news and could have an impact on next season. Depending on how well he recovers, it is doubtful now that he starts 2014-2015 on the Penguins NHL roster. Seth Brisendine

April, 2014 - Derrick Pouliot has been named the WHL's Defenseman of the Year. He finished the regular season with 70 points in 58 games. He has expanded on those great point totals with an even better playoff total, 26 points in only 14 games. He has truly broken out this season, and is trying to guide the Winterhawks to a second consecutive WHL title. Seth Brisendine

December 2013 - Derrick Pouliot was one of seven defensemen named to the Canadian World Junior U-20 Team for the Championships held in Malmo, Sweden. Brendan Ross

December 2013 - Derrick Pouliot has been invited to the Canadian junior team selection camp, he is expected to be a power-play specialist for Team Canada. Not that this was a surprise, as he has been very consistent offensively throughout the season. Derrick has scored 30 points in 28 games so far for Portland this season. Seth Brisendine

November 2013 - Pouliot has met expectations so far in this young season. He has put up 15 points in 14 games while also improving his defensive game. Pouliot has also been selected for the WHL's roster in the 2013 Subway Super Series against the Russians. Pouliot is now considered a favorite to make Canada's roster for the World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden. Seth Brisendine

October 2013 - Derrick Pouliot has been reassigned to the Portland Winterhawks for the 2013-14 season. He will be expected to provide elite-level offense and improve his defensive game, while also being a team leader. Pouliot is likely to play for Team Canada at the upcoming 2014 World Junior Championships. Portland has lost a lot of defensive talent leaving Pouliot to pick up most of the slack so ice time will provide the offensive defenseman with great opportunities for a great statistical year. Seth Brisendine

May 2013 - Derick Pouliot was a key member of the Portland Winterhawks team that fell one game short of winning the 2013 CHL Memorial Cup. The blueliner led all defensemen in scoring with seven points in five games and was named to the tournament All-Star team. Brendan Ross

April 2013 - Sits in fourth place in WHL playoff scoring as of mid-April and the leader in defense scoring, Pouliot is breaking out on the score sheet. His confidence is very apparent. - Seth Brisendine

 

Fantasy Outlook: A-
Bulking up to 207 pounds gives him a better shot at handling opposing forwards. His superior skill will give him significant fantasy upside once he improves his defensive play enough to stay in the NHL.

 

Footage:

 

 

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