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Penguins prospect Pouliot sees opportunity in Pittsburgh

Jul 22, 2014, 12:15 PM EST

Portland Winterhawks v Kelowna Rockets Getty Images

First, Derrick Pouliot needs to get healthy after undergoing shoulder surgery in May.

After that, the 20-year-old defenseman can focus on cracking a Pittsburgh blue line that no longer has Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen and Deryk Engelland.

“A couple of veteran guys are out of the system now, so it’s an opportunity for maybe some younger guys to step up and earn their spots,” Pouliot said recently, per NHL.com. “But you have to earn it and, first and foremost, get healthy.”

A star with the powerhouse Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, Pouliot was the 8th overall pick in the 2012 draft, the offensive d-man the Penguins selected with the pick they received from Carolina in the Jordan Staal trade.

As for his recovery from surgery, Pouliot says it’s “coming along good” and is hoping he can be healthy for training camp. If he’s able, he’ll battle with the likes of Simon Despres, Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Dumoulin, and Scott Harrington for an opportunity with the big club.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    How’s that headline for some alliteration?

    Pretty peppy prose.

    Wonderful words.

  2. ravanator - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Pouliot must be a moron. There is no future for anyone playing hockey in Pittsburgh. The front office is in shambles, they hired a coach that was suspended for cheating before, and their star player is a flopping ball baby. So fun watching the demise of this franchise. Cheers!

    #steelcitymeldown
    #crosbychokesintheplayoffs
    #ovi>malkin>crosby

    • wutangwild - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      #AtLeastTheyMadeThePlayoffs

    • theageofquarrel - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      Ravanator is garbage. Hash tag that.

    • MisterMcJakub - Jul 23, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      You’re an Ovechkin/Capitals fan and you’re suggesting that Crosby is the playoff choker? You really are not smart are you?

  3. hockey412 - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    Not impossible…but highly doubtful. Unless Martin is traded. They’ve got Scuderi, Letang, Maatta, Martin, Bortuzzo, and Despres already locked up and they’ve got some other guys like Dumolin and Harrington that really need to get a shot at some point. Especially coming off a summer where he couldn’t work/train the shoulder. We’ll see, should be interesting.

    • pittisit43 - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      It will be interesting to see what they do with Martin and Scuderi. I’d rather keep Martin for 1 more season and deal him next summer because he’s their best all-around defenseman right now, and trading him will hurt their cup chances, even if the return is a good winger.

      If Pouliot impresses, then we could end up seeing Bortuzzo/Scuderi rotate in and out of the lineup, as well as keeping Despres/Maatta/Pouliot fresh. Same goes for Dumoulin and Harrington.

      Letang-Martin
      Maatta-Despres
      Pouliot-Scuds/Bortuzzo

      • claysbar - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        Martin is UFA after this season. Getting a high draft pick at best for negotiating rights.

      • claysbar - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:54 PM

        And you forgot Ehrhoff.

      • jpelle82 - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:41 PM

        and scuderi is getting paid 4 million this year, no way he will be rotating anywhere other than within the top 2 pairs. are you like 12? or is this the combo you used in nhl ’14? pouliot’s not getting time this year unless we see a rash of injuries like we did this past season, and even then….bortuzzo/despres, doumolin, Harrington are all ahead of him as far as development goes.

        letang/ehrhoff
        martin/scuderi
        maatta/bortuzzo

        despres is the 7th guy

      • claysbar - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        Actually I’d like to see
        Letang Martin- Ain’t broke don’t fix it
        Ehrhoff Maatta- He could learn a lot from Ehrhoff
        Bortuzzo Scuds- Don’t car how much he gets paid, he just doesn’t seem to have it anymore for top 4

      • c9castine - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:34 PM

        Im commenting to jpelle because hes the only one who has a clue here

        If they put that anchor scuderi with martin and.make martin play safe all year ill puke. Scuderi should be 7th dman let despres and bortuzzo play together. Bortuzzo can atleast skate and hit. Scuderi is just a shooter tooter. An obstacle

      • jpelle82 - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        he played the 4th most minutes and had the 3rd most blocked shots….even after missing 2 months with a broken ankle last year. opposing players also had the 2nd lowest shooting percentage and goalies had the 2nd highest save percentage when he was on the ice…only niskanen, yep niskanen was better. he had the 2nd most sh minutes…on the #1 pk in the league. I don’t get how you guys think he’s washed up or a 3rd pair guy. he’s a lane clogging, shot blocking, slot clearing machine. he just doesn’t score, hit, or skate with the puck. he is what he is, a smart and very reliable stay at home defenseman. not to mention he only got 2 minutes of penalties all year…

      • blynasty - Jul 22, 2014 at 6:09 PM

        Martin-Ehrhoff
        Maatta-Letang
        Pouliot/Despres-Scuderi/Bortuzzo

        Ehrhoff has historically played the right side of the ice even though he is left handed. Too pair of Martin/Ehrhoff would be your shutdown pair with Maatta playing more of a stay at home position with Letang. I agree there is a lot of depth in third pairing and injuries in our D core is an annual anomoly.

    • pdmjr - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      Bortuzzo won’t make the team and Scuderi will be bought out

      • hockey412 - Jul 23, 2014 at 8:33 AM

        That’s just silly. The whole reason Engelland is out is that Bortuzzo is in. The want at least one guy of that calliber back there.

      • MisterMcJakub - Jul 23, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        Can’t buy out Scuderi. He’s not eligible.

  4. rbbbaron - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    could have used “possibilities” in place of “opportunities” if you really wanted to drive it home

    • patthehockeyfan - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      I thought the same thing. Yet, the meanings aren’t 100% the same. I still think you’re right.

    • patthehockeyfan - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      Maybe:

      Penguins prospect Pouliot perceives possibilities in Pittsburgh

      • JoeAvg - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        P P P Perfect!

      • handsofsweed - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:51 PM

        Penguins prospect Pouliot perceives possibilities pending Pittsburgh placement.

      • patthehockeyfan - Jul 22, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        Even better, weed.

        See what you started, Brough!!!

      • handsofsweed - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:52 PM

        Thanks! I was seriously going to type EXACTLY what you beat me to. But weed? Everyone always missed the s in front…as in Hands of Limas Sweed.

        Get it? HandsofSweed? (Stupid as hell, but worth a chuckle, I imagine.)

      • patthehockeyfan - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        Not stupid, Sweed. I chuckled.

        Yes, I missed the ‘s'; however, when I see the word weed somewhere … my mind just drifts.

        Wait a minute. What was I saying?

      • jpelle82 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        yup, I just thought you were a stoner….

      • handsofsweed - Jul 22, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        I don’t know dude. We were laughing at something.

      • patthehockeyfan - Jul 23, 2014 at 6:18 AM

        Laughing? Yes.

        Dude? No. I’m a woman.

  5. pitpenguinsrulez - Jul 22, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    I really we wish didn’t have Scuds! But oh well. I’d expect to see Pouliot in the line up sometime this year.

    • JoeAvg - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      Don’t be surprised to see Scuderi’s effectiveness return under a more normal defensive system. Bylsma’s was hell on D-men. Why do think it took Martin so long to adjust? It sent Michalek screaming for the exit.

      • hockey412 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        Scuderi also played well before the ankle injury. There could well be a bounce-back for him.

    • jpelle82 - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      why on earth would you “expect” that? the guy is coming off major shoulder surgery and weighs a whopping 165 lbs. why on earth would they want him in their last pair against 3rd and 4th line grinding forwards that are just going to beat him down for 15 minutes a game?

      • jpelle82 - Jul 22, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        before I get nailed for it…sorry for the exaggeration. he’s 5’11 and weighs 190….still young and small.

  6. hockey412 - Jul 22, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    He really did need this summer to bulk up. Same can be said for Maatta and Bennett. It’s a shame none of them will be able to.

    Harrington’s size suprised me last Saturday. He’s also quicker than I thought and his gap control is just ridiculous…once he’s on a guy he’s ON them and is not shaken off. Dumolin was the most noticeable D-man, good size, is fast(ish). Played well up until he tried a no-look pass in his own end, to the other d-man who was not there at the time…right in front of his own net. There was, however, a forward from the other team right there…oh boy. Hopefully Mike Johnston is an advocate of using shock-collars on anyone attempting no-look passes this year.

    • jpelle82 - Jul 22, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      hopefully to include one Sidney Crosby in that “anyone” category

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