Thursday, April 9, 2015

Derrick Pouliot Jersey Card

Every time he was called up from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this season, showcasing this card was an option; now that the Pittsburgh Penguins are in danger of missing the playoffs altogether, I guess I have to ''take advantage'' of his injury to talk about the impressive prospect on their blue line, Derrick Pouliot.

The Pens chose Pouliot 8th overall in 2012 knowing full well they had another player just like him in Kris Letang - smooth-skating, booming shot, good hockey vision and great passes, standing at around the 6'0''and 200-pound mark, and somewhat needs to work on his defensive game - but he was so good that they just couldn't pass him up.

He's already suited up twice for Team Canada at the Juniors level, and has made the Memorial Cup All-Star Team, and has played in the CHL's Subway Super Series, as can be attested by this card from In The Game's 2012-13 Heroes And Prospects set (card #SSM-31 in the Game-Used Jersey sub-set):
He's shown wearing the WHL All-Stars' white (home) uniforms as they faced off against a group of talented Russian Juniors stars; Pouliot participated in both the 2012 and 2013 editions of the tournament that is usually played in November as a prelude to the World Juniors.

He also played in this year's AHL All-Star Game, as he led his team in scoring (as a defenseman) despite having been called up to the NHL for a good chunk of December; all told, he's played 34 games with the Pens so far this year, though he's out for their next game.

There'll be knocks on his game for a while because of his ''defensive failings'', but like Letang or P.K. Subban, he will ultimately produce far more points than be responsible for goals going in, and the differential between one and the other will determine whether he will be a top-4 defenseman or a top-pairing left-hander like Erik Karlsson. He's just 21 and has already scored on Roberto Luongo (on his first shot, no less), so I'm fairly confident we'll be talking about him as an NHL player for the next 15 years.

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