The Pittsburgh Penguins selected LW Samuel Poulin (6-1, 212) with the 21st overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry draft.
Poulin a power-forward type, had 29 goals and 47 assists in 67 games for Sherbrooke Phoenix of the QMJHL.
Scouts like Poulin’s combination of size and powerful play below the dots to go with a creative ability as a passer, but the skating is lacking especially when the puck is on his stick as a growing consensus is that Poulin’s overall game is a long ways away from being NHL-ready.
Which will obviously beg the question of whether this is a step towards re-stocking the prospect pool or delaying the inevitable with a win-now General Manager in Jim Rutherford who will exhaust every trade option to maximize the window left in the Sidney Crosby era.
Pittsburgh’s No. 21 pick was certainly in play during trade talks leading into tonight, most notably for Jacob Trouba earlier this week, but the Penguins had to be cautious and smart here. You can’t keep making mistakes like the Ryan Reaves trade where you moved back 20+ spots for a draft pick whose rights were eventually relinquished and have seen the trade turn into a disaster with the emergence of Oskar Sundqvist in St. Louis.
Even if the Penguins drafted another Joe Morrow or Angelo Esposito, first-round picks selected in this range still carry about a two year window where they maintain trade value until scouts begin to figure out they’re not going to be much of anything at the NHL level.
Just because the Penguins drafted a player in Poulin that likely won’t help them for 3-4 years as a best case scenario, doesn’t mean this selection won’t eventually help them on the trade front in the next year.
Tonight was Jim Rutherford’s first pick in the first-round since he drafted Kasperi Kapanen in 2014. Kapanen lasted just over a year in the organization.
One consistent among draft pundits tonight is that Poulin is nowhere close to being NHL ready.
“He’s nowhere close to being ready for the NHL,” Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"