There is a logjam on defense for the Penguins right now. They have a lot of gifted blueliners, but not enough roster spots. There is certainly some tough competition, and at Saturday’s open scrimmage at CONSOL Energy Center Derrick Pouliot made a case for himself.
Pittsburgh’s 2012 first-round pick (eighth overall) scored one goal and set up a second as his team, Group A, triumphed 3-0 over Group C.
|Derrick Pouliot |
“I had a good offensive day,” Pouliot said after. “That’s part of my game. I’m trying to work on that and implement it. I’m getting more comfortable.”
The Penguins’ top four D-men are Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin, Kris Letang and Rob Scuderi. After that there are as many as eight players competing for the last two or three positions.
Pouliot is a highly acclaimed prospect in the Penguins organization that should have a bright future. But his current goal in training camp is for his future to be now.
“I want to try and make this team. That’s why everyone’s here,” he said. “Even if I don’t, I want to make it a hard decision for the coaches to send me back. I’m just going to put it all on the ice every day, work hard and things will sort themselves out.”
In the meantime, the 19-year-old blueliner is still taking in the experience of his first-ever NHL training camp and skating alongside guys like Letang, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” he said. “They’re world-class players. They’re the best players in the world. It’s nice playing against them, and hopefully with them. It’s pretty special. I grew up watching those guys. It’s pretty amazing, surreal.”