By Jesse Watts –

Calgary, AB – Leading up to the 2012 NHL Draft at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh on June 22 and 23, and WHL Web TV, will highlight six WHL players who are highly ranked by NHL Central Scouting leading up to draft day. This week’s featured WHL player is Portland Winterhawks smooth-skating defencemen Derrick Pouliot.

CLICK HERE to watch Pouliot’s WHL on Shaw Top Prospect Profile

Derrick Pouliot just finished his second season in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks. The 18-year-old from Weyburn, SK, finished fifth on the team and second among Hawks’ defencemen with 59 points in 72 games, and added another 17 points in 22 playoff games to help the team reach the WHL Championship series for a second consecutive season.

A smooth-skating, offensively gifted rearguard, Pouliot boasts excellent offensive instincts, moves the puck very well and can carry the puck up ice effectively. With excellent vision and hockey sense, Pouliot excels at making smart first passes and knowing when to join the attack. His superb passing skills and his ability to get pucks to the net from the point make him a particularly effective player on the power play. Though not the biggest or most physical defender, Pouliot continues to improve his defensive play for the Hawks.

“As a player, Derrick has great vision, excellent puck skill, and is a guy who is very good at helping the team escape the defensive zone in a hurry,” commented Winterhawks’ general manager and head coach Mike Johnston. “I think his vision and his puck movement, his ability to control the pace of a game, his ability to join the rush, quarterback a power play, and be a cornerstone in many parts of the game is what attracts attention.”

Pouliot played for Canada’s Under-18 team at the 2011 Memorial for Ivan Hlinka tournament, helping the team win the Gold medal. He also played for Team West in the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and played for Team Saskatchewan in the inaugural Western Canada Under-16 Challenge Cup.

During the 2011-12 season, Pouliot suited up for Team WHL at the SUBWAY Super Series, and participated in the 2012 Home Hardware CHL / NHL Top Prospects game in Kelowna, B.C.

Did you know…Derrick Pouliot is just the second player to ever be selected first overall in the WHL Bantam Draft in Winterhawks’ franchise history. The other player is Braydon Coburn of the Philadelphia Flyers, whom the Hawks chose first overall in 2000.

Derrick Pouliot Profile

Hometown: Weyburn, SK

D.O.B: January 16, 1994

Ht: 6′ 0

Wt: 181

Shoots: L

NHL C.S.S. Final Ranking: 12th among North American skaters