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September 12, 2012, Portland, OR (ISN) – Portland Winterhawks defenseman Derrick Pouliot has signed a three-year entry level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who selected him eighth overall in the 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Pouliot set career-highs with 11 goals and 48 assists for 59 points in 72 games last season, as he finished fourth in league scoring among all defensemen. Pouliot added three goals and 14 assists for 17 points in 22 playoff games, tying for the league lead in playoff scoring among defensemen with teammate Joe Morrow, who was a first round draft pick (23rd overall) of the Penguins in 2011.

The Penguins acquired the eighth pick in the draft in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on draft night.

“Signing a pro contract is a big step for a player and we’re very excited for Derrick. He’s worked incredibly hard to get to this point, but he also knows this is just the beginning,” said Portland Winterhawks General Manager & Head Coach Mike Johnston.

Pouliot was the fifth Winterhawk taken in the first round in the last three years, following Sven Bartschi (Calgary) and Morrow (Pittsburgh) in 2011, and Ryan Johansen (Columbus) and Nino Niederreiter (New York islanders) in 2010. He also became the 26th first round pick in team history. It marked the first time the team had players taken in the first round in three straight years since 1978-1983, when the Winterhawks had first round picks in six consecutive years.

The Winterhawks drafted Pouliot first overall in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft.

Season tickets and 20-, 12- and 6-game ticket packages for the 2012-13 season are on sale now. Visit winterhawks.com or call 503-236-HAWK to reserve the best seat locations.