Pittsburgh Penguins Youth Movement: Top 5 Under 25

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Dec 20, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman

Derrick Pouliot

celebrates after scoring a goal against the Florida Panthers during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Consol Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

4. Derrick Pouliot

Derrick Pouliot’s inclusion on this list is a no-brainer. The kid is far and away the team’s top prospect and he’s proved that he’s worthy of that title every time he’s suited up for the big club.

Now 21 years old, Pouliot is beginning to look like the true prize of the trade that sent Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Brandon Sutter and the 8th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Since selecting Pouliot with that 8th overall pick, the young defender has repeatedly given the Pens organization and fans alike reason to believe that he’ll be a special talent once he grows into an NHL regular.

The 2014-15 season has seen Pouliot take significant steps towards this goal as he performed well in his short time in Pittsburgh, posting 3 points and a +1 rating in 8 NHL games.

His performance in the AHL with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has been even more impressive as Pouliot is tied for the team scoring lead with 7 goals and 22 points in 27 games.

Considering how strong he looked with the big club when needed, it would seem Pouliot could make the jump to the NHL as soon as next season, and when he does, the dynamic defenseman is sure to leave his mark on the black & gold.