The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed their 2012 first-round draft pick, defenseman Derrick Pouliot, to a three-year entry-level contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
Pouliot’s contract will begin whenever he turns professional.
Pouliot, 18, was the first of Pittsburgh’s two first-round draft picks after being chosen 8th overall with the selection acquired in a draft-night trade from the Carolina Hurricanes. Pouliot attended Pittsburgh’s prospect development camp in July.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Pouliot had a breakout season with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2011-12, ranking second among team blueliners behind fellow Penguins prospect Joe Morrow with 59 points (11G-48A) in 72 regular-season games. His goal, assist and point totals were all career highs.
Pouliot, who hails from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, was even better for the Winterhawks during the postseason, as his 17 playoff points (3G-14A) tied Morrow for the most among WHL defensemen. Pouliot’s 14 assists and eight power-play assists both led all WHL blueliners.
Pouliot, who helped Team Canada capture a gold medal at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, has played the past two-plus seasons with the Winterhawks after being the No. 1-overall selection in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft. He has tallied 16 goals, 74 assists, 90 points and a plus-28 rating in 145 regular-season contests. Pouliot has added 21 points (4G-17A) and a plus-7 rating in 43 postseason games.