If Derrick Pouliot is going to realize his potential as the eighth pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, he’s not going to do so as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins sent Pouliot, 23, to the Vancouver Canucks in a trade that netted them a 2018 fourth-round pick and defenseman Andrey Pedan on Tuesday.
Pouliot has appeared in 67 regular-season and two playoff games during his career with the Penguins; those two postseason contests came in 2015-16 while he played 11 games in 2016-17. He failed to generate a single point in those 11 games, while he twice managed seven points in other abbreviated stays at the NHL level.
If nothing else, his AHL production has been respectable, so the logic for the Canucks is simple enough. In a rebuild phase, they can allow him to marinate, and a fresh start. Many will still look at Pouliot as a “bust,” but it’s often easier for a struggling prospect to at least become an NHL contributor after a change of scenery. There’s also some familiarity here:
Pedan, 24, was the 63rd pick of the 2011 NHL Draft. He played in 13 games for the Canucks back in 2015-16, failing to register a point.
The Penguins’ blueline is crowded, so it’s difficult to imagine Pedan getting much more than a cup of coffee. Actually, considering his tendency to pile up penalty minutes, the anticipation of a rough, fight-filled game might get him in the lineup here and there.
(Ryan Reaves can’t fight everyone for the Penguins, after all.)
Ultimately, this seems like the Penguins washing their hands of Pouliot. The Canucks have little to lose in seeing if the once-promising defenseman can get his career back on track.