2012 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #14: Derrick Pouliot

Derrick Pouliot, courtesy of whl.ca. Credit to Bryan Heim
Derrick Pouliot

Position: Defense
Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Age: 18
Date of Birth: January 16th, 1994
Place of Birth: Estevan, Saskatchewan
Ht: 5'11" Wt: 186
Shoots: Left

2011-2012 Regular Season Stats:

72 11 48 59 +15 79

2011-2012 WHL Playoff Stats:

22 3 14 17 +4

Pouliot, a former first overall pick in the WHL Bantam draft, is an offensive blueliner with the ability to quarterback a powerplay. He's a tad undersized, but his skating and ability to create offensively more than makes up for that. He needs some polishing in the defensive zone, but things like positioning can be improved with coaching.

Just last night, his Portland team was eliminated in the WHL final by the Edmonton Oil Kings. The Winterhawks were a solid group, with a good mix of veteran and young players. Pouliot was a leader on defense, finishing tied on his team in points in the playoffs. In the regular season, Pouliot had six powerplay goals.

He'd be a great addition for any NHL squad looking to add an offensive weapon to their back end. If they are willing to work with him on his play without the puck, he could be a solid NHL defenseman.

Scouting Report:
The former first overall bantam pick had an impressive 16 year old season with one of the most talented teams in the entire CHL. Pouliot is an effortless skater, able to effectively transition from either offense to defense, or defense to offense, in a hurry. He has strong offensive instincts, and can join the rush effectively using his skating ability to keep pace with attacking forwards. Pouliot has a good shot that he is able to get to the net frequently, though his shot velocity could use some work. Defensively, Pouliot has to be considered a bit of a project at this point, as the undersized defenseman found himself out-matched by larger WHL forwards, and also occasionally out of position. Pouliot returns to the Hawks this year in a bigger role, and should be primed for a big year offensively.

- The Scouting Report

Why he'd be a good fit in Columbus:

Columbus has been steadily improving their defense throughout their organization, but they currently don't have a prospect like Pouliot in the system- a blueliner with high-end offensive ability. In terms of a comparison, I think current Jackets defender James Wisniewski is a good match. They are both similarly sized, and known for their play with the puck. Wiz is more physical, but Pouliot is the better skater. He likely won't be taken in the top ten picks of this draft, but he would be a good candidate in a trade-down scenario.

Pouliot in Action:

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