Skip to content

Johnston believes Pouliot’s ready for NHL

Sep 1, 2014, 2:55 PM EDT

Derrick Pouliot Getty Images

If there’s one player within the Penguins’ organization that Mike Johnston didn’t need to get to know after becoming the team’s head coach, it’s Derrick Pouliot. The 20-year-old already spent four-plus years working with Johnston as a member of the WHL Portland Winterhawks.

The question going into Pittsburgh’s training camp is if Pouliot is ready to make the leap to the NHL along with Johnston.

“Yeah, I do (think Pouliot’s ready). For sure,” Johnston told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Not only his play in Portland, but the thing that convinced me the most was last year at the World Juniors.

“I really thought Derrick was the best defenseman in the tournament. If you can play at that level on the world stage, yeah, you’re ready.”

Pouliot was selected by Pittsburgh with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Since then he’s shown off his offensive skills, scoring 17 goals and 70 points in 58 WHL contests in 2013-14, but Johnston feels that he’s also smart defensively.

All the same, it’s worth noting that Pouliot underwent shoulder surgery in May and his availability for the start of training camp is still up in the air. Even if he does recover in time for the preseason, he’ll be in for an uphill battle as he would likely have to win a roster spot over Simon Despres or Robert Bortuzzo, unless the Penguins decide to go with eight defensemen or someone suffers an injury. On a related note, Olli Maatta, who also underwent shoulder surgery in May, is about two weeks ahead of Pouliot in his recovery.

Latest Posts
  1. Price makes 43 saves as Senators’ magical run ends in controversy

    Apr 26, 2015, 9:12 PM EDT

    Carey Price AP

    Montreal will now play either Detroit or Tampa Bay.

  2. Shattenkirk expects changes, but he supports Hitchcock

    Apr 26, 2015, 8:17 PM EDT

    Ken Hitchcock Getty Images

    Oshie thinks the core has “been playing some pretty good games since the playoffs.”

  3. Video: Fast whistle costs Senators potentially critical goal

    Apr 26, 2015, 7:42 PM EDT

    No goal

    Montreal had a 1-0 lead at the time.

  4. WATCH LIVE: Today’s Stanley Cup playoff action

    Apr 26, 2015, 6:20 PM EDT

    Dale Weise, Brandon Prust, Alexei Emelin AP

    Habs and Wild look to advance with Game 6 wins.

  5. Another Blues campaign ends in disappoint as Wild advance

    Apr 26, 2015, 6:18 PM EDT

    St Louis Blues v Minnesota Wild - Game Six Getty Images

    Minnesota’s earned the right to challenge Chicago again.

  6. Dupuis thinks he can play again, but ‘it’s not up to me’

    Apr 26, 2015, 5:45 PM EDT

    Pascal Dupuis Getty Images

    He’ll undergo further testing in the not too distant future.

  7. Report: Toronto approached Chiarelli before he took Oilers job

    Apr 26, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Peter Chiarelli Peter Chiarelli

    The newly appointed Edmonton executive is already busy in his new role.

  8. Glencross to return to Caps’ lineup for Game 7

    Apr 26, 2015, 1:15 PM EDT

    Washington Capitals Headshots

    Eric Fehr would be ready for the second round.

  9. Crosby joining Team Canada at Worlds

    Apr 26, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Canada forward Sidney Crosby raises his stick to hockey fans after Canada beat the USA 1-0 in a men's semifinal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) AP

    He last played at the 2006 tournament.

  10. Sens’ MacArthur good to go for Game 6

    Apr 26, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    Clarke MacArthur Getty Images

    He didn’t play the second half of Friday night’s win.

  11. Pens’ Pouliot headed back to AHL

    Apr 26, 2015, 11:15 AM EDT

    Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Chorney and Dumoulin could also head back to Wilkes-Barre for their playoff run.

  12. Habs’ Parenteau to play Game 6

    Apr 26, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    P.A. Parenteau P.A. Parenteau

    He’s been a healthy scratch for three games.

Featured video

Plenty of pressure on Blues
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. Z. Kassian (2918)
  2. A. Burrows (2479)
  3. S. Weber (2298)
  4. K. Letang (2187)
  5. M. Giordano (2027)
  1. C. Ehrhoff (1953)
  2. M. Fisher (1856)
  3. D. Carcillo (1830)
  4. L. Bouma (1830)
  5. T. Hamonic (1767)