If there is one defenseman that would be a good fit for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the future, Derrick Pouliot of the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks can be an all-around defender for the Penguins on both ends of the ice.
QUARTERBACK ON THE POWER PLAY
Looking at the numbers that Pouliot has put up in his time with the Winterhawks shows that he can be a big factor on a power play.
We think back a few years ago when Sergei Gonchar was anchoring the power plays for the Penguins. Pouliot had 11 goals in 2011-12 with Portland. His +/- being 15 is almost identical to Gonchar's in the Penguins Stanley Cup year in 2008 which was 13. Kris Letang is the man the Penguins depend on now. Developing Pouliot for the future would be a good investment.
A FEW SHORTCOMINGS THAT CAN BE FIXED
Pouliot, according to some scouts, does make a few small mistakes in the fundamentals. Other than that, these are things that can be overcome. After all, the Penguins shouldn't expect him to be up in the NHL level for a few seasons. Even if he goes back to Portland to play, time to develop there and in Wilkes/Barre Scranton will help.
GET HIM IF HE'S AVAILABLE
There are a lot of defenders in the draft this year expected to go in the first round. Derrick Pouliot could go before the Penguins select. If he doesn't go in the late teens, early twenties like many expect him too, the Penguins should jump at the opportunity. The Penguins are also setting their sights on a left winger. They are light on left wingers down in the minors, but a defensive player is not a bad investment either.
Pouliot should be a favorite of many teams looking for a defenseman in the first round, especially halfway through the round. The Penguins showed in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs that they need a change in their defense. Not just a great point player on the power play, but an all-around player.
Video courtesy of the Pittsburgh Penguins