Pens prospect Pouliot out 4-6 months after shoulder surgery

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One of Pittsburgh’s brightest defensive prospects has been shelved for a lengthy period of time.

Derrick Pouliot, the club’s first-round selection (eighth overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, Pens interim GM Jason Botterill said in a statement.

Recovery from said surgery is expected to be 4-6 months, which could extend into the start of the 2014-15 campaign.

Pouliot, 20, recently wrapped another successful campaign with WHL Portland, winning the league’s defenseman of the year award on the strength of 70 points in the regular season and another 32 in the playoffs. He was likely to challenge for a spot on the Pens’ roster to open the ’14-15 campaign, especially given the uncertainty regarding the future of pending veteran UFAs Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen and Deryk Engelland.

So, it’ll be interesting how well Pouliot rehabilitates.

Should he recover within four months, he’ll be targeting a mid-September return and would be joining the club midway through the preseason. Should he go the full six months, Pouliot might not be with the Penguins until November, meaning he’d miss (at least) the first four weeks of the regular season.