For the first time since 2014 the Pittsburgh Penguins made a selection in the first round of the NHL Draft. With the 21st overall pick, they took big forward Samuel Poulin from the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the QMJHL. He had 76 points last year in 67 regular season games and 14 points in 10 playoff games. We can dig deeper on Monday, not just on Poulin but all of the Penguins 2019 picks, but let’s take a quick look at the newest French Canadian in the Penguins prospect cupboard.
First of all, it’s hard to ignore that again Rutherford used a first rounder on the son of a guy he knows… Samuel’s father Patrick Poulin was an NHLer when Rutherford was in Hartford. If this sounds familiar it is. Rutherford picked Kasperi Kapanen (his last 1st round pick) in 2014 after knowing his father Sami. This is a tiny sample size since the Penguins have made a whopping two picks in his tenure here so maybe it’s just coincidence but… still…you do know you can pick guys whose dad’s you don’t know, right Jim?
As for Poulin himself, he’s quite the physical specimen. At 6’1″ he’s already pretty much full-grown. He’s also got a toolbox chock full of skills that could turn heads. His shot is incredible. His QMJHL coach said this about him, “He has an NHL shot and quick hands… He is very strong physically. Now, it’s a matter of finding momentum on offense. I think he can easily be an offensive player.”
And that’s the thing. Poulin came on late in the season, playing his best hockey in the playoffs. He also doesn’t have the strongest skating stride. But, he is young enough that the skating could improve. He’s definitely not a finished product but could be a good player and considering he is a later birthday and he isn’t available to the AHL for two more years giving him plenty of time to work on his skating.
Overall, not the pick most expected with players like Kaliyev and Suzuki still on the board but not a reach like some of the earlier picks. A pretty standard pick that, like all draft picks, is a roll of the dice and now will depend more on how the player works than anything else.
We’ll end with this from GMJR.