NHL Draft 2012 Prospects: #21 Derrick Pouliot

Good vision. Always a plus. (Photo credit: Bryan Heim/Portland Winterhawks)

The draft, hands down, is the best time of the hockey season. Maybe I'm just saying that because the Wild haven't been seen post-season action since 2008, but that is besides the point.

The Wild hold seven picks this year, including the 7th overall pick. The last time that Wild had a pick this high was when the team selected Benoit Pouliot 4th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft (the beginning of the Wild's awful draft record, as seen by our pal's inspiration for their blog's name...).

However, since GM Chuck Fletcher and Assistant GM Brett Flahr arrived, the team has started to see some promise. Some of these names include the Christ-like (or whoever you pray to) Mikael Granlund, Johan Larsson, Charlie Coyle and the recently drafted Jonas Brodin.

So, on June 22nd-23rd, we will all sit down in front of the television/computer and watch the draft. But if you are wondering, "who's who", then you haven't been reading HW because thats my job.

So without further ado:

Introducing our 2012 NHL #21 Draft Prospect - Derrick Pouliot

Don't forget to check out the Hockey Wilderness 2012 Draft Page as well. Just click on the picture.

Brodin_medium


Derrick Pouliot

Defense / Portland Winterhawks

5-11.25

186

Jan 16 1994



GP G A P +/- PIM
2011/12 - Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
72 11
48 59 15
79
2011/12 - Playoffs
22 3
14 17 4
18

Accomplishments & Awards:

Year Award
2011/12 CHL Top Prospects Game

Scholastic Player of the Year Award
2010/11 U17 WHC All-Star Team

Prospect Jersey (What Would They Look Like In a Wild Jersey?)

Pouliot_medium

Anyone else throw up just a little?

Summarized Scouting Report

Strengths:

One of the draft's better puck-rushing blueliners ... a silky smooth skater ... he's not afraid to play physical in the corners and in front of the net ... has a good – if not overly powerful – shot from the point ... shot that he gets through traffic and on net with regularity ... a sublime passer of the puck ... great hands ... likes to join the play and create offence ... ability to finish on the rush ... a future powerplay quarterback at the next level ... ability to play a high tempo transition game

Weaknesses:

Should to be considered a bit of a project ... can play a little too casually ... will also need to continue to get bigger and stronger to match up against larger opposition ... suspect on his puck moving at times when he tries to do too much ... is susceptible to the occasional glaring mistake ... his ability to defend is still a concern going forward ... still figuring out exactly where he needs to be without the biscuit, especially in his own zone ... sometimes struggles away from the puck ... can be inconsistent with his decision making

HW Projection:

#3-4 Offensive Defenseman, PP Quaterback

Video Evidence:

Derrick Pouliot Highlights (via DumbassShello)

Where Does He Fit In The Wild?

The Wild do need a defenseman that can run the PP but is Pouliot's raw defensive game worth the pick?

Conclusion

To me, he sounds alot like Marek Zidlicky.

Zidlicky is a good player, he is doing very well in New Jersey. But he didn't do well with the Wild, and I don't think Pouliot will do either.

He's a smooth skating defenseman that is skilled with the puck, talented in the offensive zone, and an extremely talented passer. He has the ability to control the pace of the game and run the offense.

But his flaws are also glaring. For one, he doesn't have the size or strength to push around bigger opponents. Although we know guys like Spurgeon can survive at the NHL level using their hockey smarts, Pouliot also lacks that ability to cover his own zone. He is still considered very raw in that area.

The draft is more art than science, and I prefer guys that play a two-way game. Some teams may like his offensive game and believe his defensive game will only improve as he matures, but I have my doubts.

Special thanks to HFBoards, Future Considerations, The Hockey Writers, TSN, OHLProspeccts and The Scouting Report

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