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Penguins sign rookies Pouliot, Maatta to entry-level contracts


Guest DinahMoeHumm
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The Penguins had an embarrassment of riches in defensive prospects before the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Thanks to their work in that draft, they now possess perhaps the finest stable of young blue liners in hockey.

Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta, both selected in the first round, signed three-year entry-level contracts that will be triggered when they opt to turn pro.

“We already had a lot of talent in the system,” assistant coach Todd Reirden told the Tribune-Review this summer. “And we are very impressed with these two.”

Pouliot is considered one of the finest offensive defenseman to emerge from the draft in recent years. The Penguins believe he has the potential to become a power play quarterback and a top-four defenseman in the NHL. They loved him before the draft but were only able to select him because of their trade with Carolina. As part of the Jordan Staal deal, the Penguins received the eighth pick. They did not hesitate in selecting Pouliot, who plays with the Penguins’ 2011 top-pick — defenseman Joe Morrow — for the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League.

The Penguins then selected Maatta with their other first-round pick. Maatta and Pouliot will join the Penguins for training camp whenever it begins, pending the labor negotiations. Camp is scheduled to begin Sept. 21 at Consol Energy Center.

While Pouliot and Morrow form a dynamic pairing of offensive players in the WHL, Maatta and Scott Harrington — the Penguins’ second-round pick in 2011 who has rapidly climbed the organizational depth chart — have given the London Knights a well-rounded pair of blue liners in the OHL.

Maatta isn’t an offensive force but was considered one of the finest two-way defensemen in the 2012 draft.

“He just does everything so well,” Harrington said. “He’s so good defensively and such a smooth skater. He’s one of those guys who’s just always in the right position. He’s going to be a heck of a player.”

Neither Pouliot nor Maatta will compete for a job with the Penguins this season. The team is blessed with considerable NHL depth, to say nothing of prospects like Despres, Morrow and Harrington. However, the Penguins project Pouliot and Maatta as difference-making defensemen who could reach the NHL in two or three years.

Source: http://triblive.com/...n#axzz26C90GLNf

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@DinahMoeHumm I knew Matta would be going back to the rival Knights, but wow....it just struck me...Scott friggin Harrington will be back as well due to the strike. That would make London's blue line wicked good...dear Lord, they are gonna destroy my Spits!

Well, it's not so bad, jammer... imagine what they're gonna do to my Otters :mellow:

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Beau Bennett is just your man. RH with sniper skills. Prolly a few years away yet, but he signed an ELC so they must feel he is progressing nicely.

He's definitely showing promise. I'd love to see something sooner, though. I know our defense fell apart in the playoffs but it was one of the better squads in the regular season so I'm not too concerned there. I think they'll be better this year with one of the young guys moving up. We need a forward now... which is why so many of us will be watching Tangradi very closely this year.

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I still think you guys overpaid and now Dallas.

I think Dallas def overpaid. Us? Not so sure. We got great value out of him points-wise and play wise during the year but he was tired, ineffective (maybe injured?) in the playoffs. I was begging the Flyers to sit him even before the PIT series was done in favour of youth/speed/energy/grit.

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I think Dallas def overpaid. Us? Not so sure. We got great value out of him points-wise and play wise during the year but he was tired, ineffective (maybe injured?) in the playoffs. I was begging the Flyers to sit him even before the PIT series was done in favour of youth/speed/energy/grit.

As much as I hated seeing 68 in the O&B, I'm on record saying that I thought he was great for your team last year. For what he gave you and what he did for G and Hartnell I think he was well worth the money. I'm curious to see the production of that line this year without him. I think G will be fine, but I think Harts will drop off a little. Just my opinion.

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@DinahMoeHumm

Yeah, I think Hartnell will be hard-pressed to put up those numbers again. However, Voracek is not a bad replacement for Jagr on that line. Not bad at all! He protects the puck well and has great speed and playmaking abilities. Also, Hartnell is no longer fat and his personal life is not in turmoil, so he's really a different player than he was 2-3 years ago. So who knows, you know?

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