The host Pittsburgh Penguins selected defenseman Derrick Pouliot of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League with the eighth-overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center.
Pittsburgh acquired the pick from the Carolina Hurricanes along with center Brandon Sutter and defenseman Brian Dumoulin in exchange for Jordan Staal.
Pouliot, 18, was ranked No. 12 overall among North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Pouliot was fourth among Western Hockey League (WHL) defensemen with 59 points (11G-48A). His 48 assists ranked second among WHL blueliners.
A native of Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Pouliot is teammates with Pittsburgh’s 2011 first-round draft pick, Joe Morrow. The two spent time this season playing together on the Winterhawks’ power play. During the postseason, Pouliot placed second among all WHL defensemen with 17 points (3G-14A) in 22 postseason games as Portland lost to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL Final.
Pouliot has played the past three seasons with Portland, tallying 90 points (16G-74A) in 145 regular-season games after being the first-overall player selected by the Winterhawks during the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft.
In addition to playing with Portland, Pouliot has represented Team Canada twice internationally. He helped the Canadians capture a gold medal at the 2011 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament with three points (1G-2A). Pouliot also captained Team-West at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, when he posted three assists in five games and was named to the tournament all-star team.