CHICAGO - The Coyotes drafted defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph with the 23rd overall pick on Friday night during the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center.
It was a crowning moment for Joseph, whose best known by his initials, P.O.
"I was a little bit of an underdog when I was younger," Joseph said. "I was smaller, not heavy. But I had a lot of people believing in me."
• VIEW: Joseph's Draft Bio
That support helped Joseph reach his goal of being drafted by an NHL team.
"P.O. is a guy our staff was extremely passionate about, so any time you receive a player you're passionate about, it's a good day," Coyotes General Manager John Chayka said. " ... He's a guy who has unlimited upside. We think the sky's the limit for him, and his ceiling is as high as anybody. That's what we were looking for at that pick."
Video: Coyotes draft Pierre-Olivier Joseph at No. 23
Joseph notched six goals and 33 assists in 62 games with Charlottetown (QMJHL) last season. In 13 playoff games, he chipped in one goal and five assists.
"He's a smooth-skating, two-way defenseman who can play in all situations," Chayka said. "He's aggressive. He competes hard. I think he's extremely, extremely smart. He's got a good skill set. I think once he puts on a little size and some weight, that's going to take his game to the next level ... It's not about putting him in our lineup tomorrow, it's about three, four years down the road (and) where can he be, and we think he can be up there with anyone else."
Joseph, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 163 pounds, said he had no expectations while he waited for his name to be called at the draft. He said that approach made it an enjoyable experience.
"I was thinking, 'OK, maybe it will come, maybe it will not,'" Joseph said with smile.
Joseph tries to play like established NHLer Marc-Edouard Vlassic. He likes the way Vlassic moves the puck and he admires his mobility.
Joseph is the younger brother of forward Mathieu Joseph, who was drafted 120th overall in 2015 by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Joseph brothers pushed each other to become better hockey players.
"Our relationship is incredible," Joseph said. "We talk every day pretty much. We're there to help each other, to push ourselves. He's there for me whenever I need him - something about hockey or something about life in general."
Video: Pierre-Olivier Joseph - Behind the Scenes at Draft