June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Derrick Pouliot puts on a jersey while standing next to Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux after being selected as the number eight overall draft pick to the Penguins in the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Why Derrick Pouliot Will Make The Pens' Roster

 

As everyone has heard a million times, the Pittsburgh Penguins have a logjam on defense.

The most obvious defensive candidates for making the team include Kristopher Letang, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen and recently acquired Rob Scuderi.

That leaves Deryk Engelland, Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Brian Dumoulin, Derrick Pouliot, Olli Maata and Scott Harrington to fight over the one or two spots left.

While all of the defensemen show a lot of promise and pleasant futures in the NHL, some may finally get their turn to crack the surface of playing in the big leagues.

The Canadian native, Derrick Pouliot, has made one of the best cases for why he should be one of the two defensemen that is brought to the team in 2013-14.

The young defensman is a highly-acclaimed prospect in the Penguins’ organization that should have a bright future and his current goal in training camp is for his future to be now.

Pouliot has been fantastic for Pittsburgh this preseason.

In his first chance to show off his skills, the 19-year-old played like a veteran during the hard-fought open scrimmage at Consol Energy Center.  Pittsburgh’s 2012 first round pick, who was part of Group A during the scrimmage, scored one goal and set up another one to lead his group to victory of Group C.

The other night against the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks, Pouliot provided a great presence on Pittsburgh’s power play that ended with his first goal in a Pens’ sweater.

Not only did he throw in a goal, but he also logged 24:07 minutes — which was second on the team behind defenseman Matt Niskanen.

Pouliot has been compared to his teammate Kris Letang and has been given the title of future powerplay quarterback.  His smooth skating has also been compared to that of current Winnipeg Jet’ Brian Campbell.

The coaches have given Pouliot ample opportunity to show what he could do in his first-ever exhibition game on Sunday in Columbus.  They paired him with veteran Rob Scuderi and had him man the point on the first power-play unit with Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen.

Head coach Dan Bylsma singled-out the young prospect, mentioning how much poise and patience Pouliot has shown thus far on the powerplay.

It’s a belief that he has been the most impressive young gun for the team so far — receiving tons of praise from coaches and veteran players.

If Pouliot can continue to play like the poised, talented defenseman that he is, he will have a great chance to join the the 2013-14 campaign for the Penguins.

 

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