Weight: 190 Pounds
DOB: 16 January 1994
Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
In winning the Stanley Cup this season, the Los Angeles Kings clearly know how important puck-moving defensemen like Drew Doughty can be in the post-lockout NHL. The league welcomes in another such puck-mover in Derrick Pouliot.
Pouliot comes as yet another skillful offensive defenseman in this 2012 draft, but according to one NHL executive, "he might be the best of the group." A dynamic skater with a fluid but powerful stride, the Winterhawks blueliner is an effective puck-handler who can carry the play up the ice. With a crisp pass and sneakily powerful shot, the 18-year-old native of Weyburn, Saskatchewan also has premier power-play quarterback potential.
Pouliot could do with improving the more defensive side of his game, which at times, is lacking and may hurt his ability to be a penalty-killing defenseman for his new team, but if worst comes to worst, he will serve to be an effective puck-mover at the NHL level. He could also do with becoming more of a physical force on the ice, but he isn't afraid to drop the gloves and has stood up for teammates on numerous occasions.
Pouliot played with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. In 72 regular-season games with the 'Hawks, Pouliot scored 11 goals with 48 assists in 72 games to go along with a plus-15 and 79 penalty minutes, drastically improving on his 2010-11 totals of 30 points in 66 games. In the playoffs, the 'Hawks, who made it to the WHL finals, continued to lean heavily on Pouliot for much of their production from the backend. He ended up with three goals and 14 assists in 22 games.
Much like a number of draft-eligibles, Pouliot has yet to emerge onto the international scene for Team Canada, but he should see time at the World Juniors next season with Team Canada. It will be a big test for him to see how he matches up with international prospects beyond the WHL.
Derrick Pouliot was ranked as the No. 12 North American skater in Central Scouting's final NHL draft rankings.
Analysis: Pouliot projects as a top-four defenseman, with heavy special teams upside.