PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – While it may be the middle of summer, hockey is being played at CONSOL Energy Center this week.
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ annual prospect camp opened on Wednesday. For some, it will be the first look at some of the prospects the Penguins have in the pipeline.
One player that has generated some buzz since being drafted eighth overall by the Penguins in 2012, is defenseman Derrick Pouliot.
Pouliot is currently recovering from shoulder surgery, but hopes to be ready in time for Training Camp in September.
“It’s progressing slowly, but I’m on track right now and where I’m supposed to be. So, it’s going to take some time, but it’s going well,” Pouliot said. “The timeline is a little vague, so we’ll see how well it progresses. Hopefully, I’ll be ready for Training Camp.”
It’s no secret that Pouliot has some offense in his game. This past season with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, he registered 17 goals and 53 assists in just 58 games. He added another five goals and 27 assists in 21 playoff games.
While helping out on offense is a big part of his game, it’s not all he has to offer on the blue line.
“I’m an offensive defenseman, I think. Working on my two-way game, I think I’m a pretty good skater and I see the ice pretty well. I look to capitalize on offensive opportunities, create some chances in the other team’s end. I want to be a solid defensive player too, really be able to shut down all those top players,” Pouliot said.
Pouliot credits the staff in Portland, which included new Penguins head coach Mike Johnston.
“Portland’s been good. It’s been really good for my development, had a good staff there, a lot of good teammates and they really helped a lot. So, it’s rounded out my game very well,” Pouliot said.
When Johnston was introduced as the new head coach of the Penguins, he discussed playing an up-tempo style of hockey. Pouliot shed some light on what the players and fans can expect from his coaching style.
“Mike’s a very smart man. He’s a calm coach. He doesn’t get too fired up, but he gets the players to do what he wants and what they need to do to win. He’s a very good coach and he’s going to do well in Pittsburgh,” Pouliot said. “Mike wants to play that fast-paced transition game. He doesn’t want us to just dump the puck in and go after it. If you can make a play, he wants you to do that first. That’s the style of game he’ll play and it worked well in Portland, so I’m sure it will work well here.”
If you’d like to get a look at some of the Penguins’ prospects, a scrimmage will be open to the public Saturday at 3 p.m.
For more information about the scrimmage, visit the Penguins’ website here.