NHL Draft Prospect Profile #17: Derrick Pouliot
Drafted #8 Overall by Pittsburgh Penguins
As we continue through our draft profiles, a clear trend showing that the 2012 is absolutely loaded with good young defence prospects has emerged. This trend continues with our #17 overall prospect, a strong offensive defenceman from the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, Derrick Pouliot.
Born Jan 16 1994 — Weyburn, SASK
Height 6.00 — Weight 181 — Shoots L
Derrick Pouliot has certainly been at his best this season, when the scouts have been paying the most attention. He made a great first impression this year scoring 10 points in his first 7 games. Invited to the CHL’s Top Prospects Game, Pouliot put himself directly into the centre of the action, and was one of the best players on the ice, he even drew an assist on the game winning goal. And finally Pouliot is leaving a fresh impression in scouts’ minds with an extremely impressive performance running the powerplay for the Portland Winterhawks who are currently playing in the WHL’s Western Conference Final. Pouliot was dominant last night in game 2 of the series, with 4 assists in helping Portland take a 2-0 series lead on the road.
Pouliot is a skilled offensive defenceman. In terms of offensive game, we feel he compares favourably to fellow WHL Draft Prospect Morgan Rielly. Pouliot has excellent skating, he is very fast, has excellent balance and agility, changes direction quickly and has good balance. He is very skilled with the puck on his stick, able to carry and control it efficiently, and is a good stickhandler capable of making deceptive moves around opponents. He makes tape to tape passes both in starting the breakout and in setting up his Winterhawks teammates with excellent chances in the offensive zone. Pouliot’s shot doesn’t have the power of some of the other prospects in this draft, but he has a good release and his wrist shots are very accurate. He’s able to keep his slap shot low and get it on net, which is essential for any power play quarterback.
Pouliot however is very much a work in progress in the defensive end of the ice. As mentionned before his quick skating and good first pass are definite assets as he can effectively start the transition game. However Pouliot needs to add some serious muscle to his frame and gain strength before he reaches the next level. He is often overpowered by bigger, stronger opponents. Pouliot’s defensive positioning also needs some serious work. He often makes errors in coverage and misses his assignments leading to quality scoring chances against. His defensive deficiencies are the difference between being ranked in the top 10 of this draft and where we’ve put him at 17.
Pouliot is still a solid prospect, especially with the emphasis on puck moving, mobile defencemen in the NHL today. We think he may need some time, and his defensive game makes him a bit of a long term project, but one that some NHL team will be happy to take on in the first round. If he can improve, we see Pouliot’s high end potential as an offensive defenceman who who would be similar to Brian Campbell of the Florida Panthers.
… and thats the Last Word.