With the trade deadline less than six weeks away one of the story lines for the Penguins is what becomes of Derrick Pouliot.
Does he join the NHL club for the stretch run and become a factor or he is this years version of Simon Despres, traded for what the organization see’s as a win-now move?
Surrounding Pouliot there is a lot of the same talk going around that the Penguins never tried to kill with Despres.
Talk continues to emerge that the Penguins have not been thrilled with Pouliot’s commitment off the ice and his attention to details with film study, other aspects. For whatever reason Pouliot believing he doesn’t belong in Wilkes Barre has also rubbed some in the organization the wrong way.
When he initially went to Wilkes Barre he didn’t get off on the best foot with Mike Sullivan, who a source said didn’t like the type of attitude Pouliot was carrying around.
Whether it’s the right decision or not, the Penguins stance led by Bill Guerin and Mark Recchi on Pouliot has been that it’s going to take more than just production on the ice to get them to recommend a callup.
Things can always change but when checking on Pouliot last week, indications are the Penguins feel it is very important for Pouliot to take part in the AHL All-Star game on February 1.
Pouliot has 6 goals and 23 points in 36 games for Wilkes Barre. His plus-16 rating is tied with two others for the best mark on the team. Pouliot has a goal and four assists in his past three games after having just one point in his previous eight games.
Among defensemen he’s seventh in the AHL in points.
The Penguins continue to scour the trade market for another puck-moving defenseman, preferably a top-4 d-man, because they don’t see Pouliot as anything more than a complementary piece for this season if he were to be called up and put into the mix for the stretch run.
With it widely known around the league that Jim Rutherford is open to moving Pouliot as a trade chip in a deal that bolsters the Penguins lineup for a playoff run, some executives will be surprised if Pouliot isn’t up with the big club prior to the trade deadline, more so for trade considerations than anything. Teams that might be interested in him want to see him at the NHL level.
“The longer he stays in the American Hockey League, it makes you wonder what’s really going on there,” one executive said.
The Penguins last month looked into a Jonathan Drouin for Pouliot swap and there was no interest from the Lightning end. One rumor that won’t go away is talks between the Penguins and B Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"