Tag: Paul Martin

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins

Looking to make the leap: Derrick Pouliot


Is this the year Derrick Pouliot transitions from promising prospect to full-time pro?

He seems to think so.

“I think I’m capable of being a reliable defender in this league. I think I can produce even more offensively, too,” Pouliot said earlier this summer, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s really about taking a two-way role, not giving up anything and creating some chances for us.

“I’ll come into camp in shape and be able to handle some more minutes.”

Last season, Pouliot looked primed to make the leap. He made his NHL debut in December and eventually replaced an injured Olli Maatta on Pittsburgh’s blueline, impressing onlookers through 34 games until an injury of his own prematurely ended the campaign.

While it was a good showing from a kid that only turned 21 in January — Pouliot racked up seven points while averaging 17:33 TOI — the former WHL Portland standout only provided a glimpse of what he could do.

Now, the Pens want a much bigger look.

They also need it.

Pittsburgh’s defense took a hit this offseason and, as a result, Pouliot’s role is bound to increase. Blueline minutes are there for the taking: Paul Martin, who averaged nearly 23 per game last season, is now in San Jose while Christian Ehrhoff, who averaged nearly 22, is in L.A.

Rob Scuderi turns 37 in December and seems primed for a (further) diminished role, and it remains to be seen if the Ben Lovejoy-for-Simon Despres trade will ever work out in the Pens’ favor.

So, enter Pouliot.

The eighth overall pick in 2012, he’s expected to shoulder a significant load this year, despite it being (essentially) his first full NHL campaign. And this isn’t any ordinary team he’s looking to leap into; Pittsburgh made major splashes throughout the summer, none bigger than the Phil Kessel acquisition, and is a legit Eastern Conference contender.

In short, the pressure’s on for Pouliot.

“I definitely know the expectations, that’s for sure,” he told NHL.com. “I know I have to be ready when the season comes around, what I have to do to be ready. It’s a little different in that aspect, that’s for sure.

“I’m pretty anxious. I feel like I can take on a bit of a bigger role.”

Sharks’ Couture: ‘I think we have the core to win’


It’s been a busy summer for the San Jose Sharks, as they look to get back to the playoffs after failing to qualify this past spring.

The Sharks and general manager Doug Wilson acquired goalie Martin Jones and then signed him to a three-year contract extension. They also signed veteran forward Joel Ward and defenseman Paul Martin.

However, with the new additions, it’s the core group of players, including Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, that forward Logan Couture seems to believe in as San Jose looks to get back to the post-season, despite what has been an overall lack of success that time of year.

“I talked to Doug a couple times throughout the summer, and we want to win,” Couture told The Hockey News.

“San Jose does. That’s our goal. We realize our best players, Jumbo and Patty, are getting a little bit older. I think we have the core to win, and Doug went out and got some very good players. Paul, Martin Jones, Joel, they’re just going to help us.”


Report: Blue Jackets have interest in Ehrhoff

Christian Ehrhoff

Will Christian Ehrhoff’s long wait for a new contract end with him joining the Columbus Blue Jackets?

It seems that there have been discussions between the two sides, according the Columbus Dispatch’s sources. It was previously reportedly that Columbus went after Dougie Hamilton, Paul Martin, and Kevin Shattenkirk over the course of the offseason in an attempt to bolster their defense, so Ehrhoff would be the latest in a long line of targets.

The problem at this point is that Columbus is close to the cap after acquiring and signing Brandon Saad. Ehrhoff’s agent has already said that his client is open to another one-year contract after completing his $4 million deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the 2014-15 campaign. If he’s willing to be accommodating from a financial standpoint as well, then the Blue Jackets might be able to fit him in under the ceiling.

It’s possible that this situation will drag on as Ehrhoff might wait to see if other more lucrative options materialize, assuming that there aren’t already such prospects on the table.

Ehrhoff was limited to 49 games in 2014-15 due to injuries and finished with three goals and 14 points.

Pouliot trains under Gary Roberts with big opportunity looming

Derrick Pouliot

With Paul Martin gone and current unrestricted free agent Christian Ehrhoff unlikely to return to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 21-year-old defenseman Derrick Pouliot has been presented with a golden opportunity.

The top-end blueline prospect got his first taste of NHL action last season, scoring two goals and seven points in 34 NHL contests. It made him realize that he needs to be in even better physical condition going forward, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In order to do that he’s been training with fitness guru and former NHLer Gary Roberts. He’s also made substantial changes to his diet.

“It’s about getting my conditioning up so if I get caught out there I’m not dying trying to keep up,” Pouliot said. “It’s a little bit of a lifestyle change. I mean I’m not really a picky eater.”

Pouliot’s goal is to become a two-way defenseman and take on more, or at least “harder,” minutes after averaging 17:32 minutes per game last season.

Even with two veteran defensemen gone though, he will still be competing with Olli Maatta, Tim Erixon, and Brian Dumoulin for one of potentially two or three roster spots.

Maatta (shoulder) expects to be ready for Pens training camp

Olli Maatta

Olli Maatta says he doesn’t look back on the 2014-15 campaign.

That’s probably a good thing.

After a year in which he had a cancerous tumor removed from his neck, got the mumps and had season-ending shoulder surgery, the young Finnish blueliner only wants to look forward to next season, and get healthy for training camp.

“We’re on the schedule,” Maatta said this week, per NHL.com. “Obviously the goal is to be ready for training camp. Everything is going as we planned, so that’s the goal.”

With Paul Martin now in San Jose and Christian Ehrhoff still entertaining free agent offers, the Pens will certainly need Maatta on the back end — and for him to stay injury-free. After scoring nine points in 20 games last year, the shoulder ailment sidelined him on Dec. 6 and the decision to have surgery was made in mid-January.

That essentially snuffed out what many thought would be an impressive campaign; as a rookie in ’13-14, Maatta showed great promise by scoring nine goals and 29 points in 78 games, finishing fifth in Calder voting.