Derrick Pouliot is on his way to Vancouver tonight as the newest member of the Canucks and is expected at Rogers Arena for practice tomorrow.
He said his NHL career hasn’t reached the heights he expected as a top draft pick, but is determined to earn his spot with the Canucks and embrace the fast, puck-moving defensive style of Travis Green, whom he played under in Portland with the Winterhawks.
“I was one of the guys he could reply on to put out on the ice night in and night out,” he said. “There will be a certain level of comfort knowing a couple people. That being said, things aren’t just handed to you because you know somebody. You have to work for.”
The Penguins traded their 2012 eighth-overall draft pick in exchange for defenceman Andrey Pedan and a fourth-round draft pick in 2018.
Pouliot was once one of the NHL’s brightest prospects, but played last season in the AHL for Wilkes/Barre-Scranton and put up 23 points in 46 games. This is the first trade of his career, which he described as an “up-and-down ride.”
“My first three years in Pittsburgh haven’t gone exactly as I’d hoped or planned. But I think I made strides along the way. I feel as though I had a pretty good training camp this year and I’m starting to get back to the player that I know I can be. I’m looking to continue that.”
Canucks general manager Jim Benning sees Pouliot’s upside in an fast-paced NHL that values defencemen who can transition quickly and spark a rush.
“The way he skates and handles the puck and can get up the ice, his game fits the way the game is being played now,” said Benning. “The talent and skill that he has as a defenceman is worth taking a gamble on.
“We think he can become a really good player at this level. Sometimes guys just need a change of scenery to kind of get their career going.”