2009-10: The first overall pick in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft (by Portland), Derrick Pouliot made a brief appearance with the Winterhawks, playing seven games, while spending the bulk of the season with the Moose Jaw Warriors Midget AAA team in Saskatchewan. Pouliot had 1 assist and was an even plus/minus in his limited stint with Portland. In 43 games with the Warriors he scored 14 goals with 29 assists and 38 penalty minutes. In four playoff games he had 2 assists and 4 penalty minutes.
2010-11: Pouliot skated in 66 games for Portland as a WHL rookie and played for Canada West in the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge. Part of a deep and talented defense corps for the Winterhawks, who had the league's third-best record and reached the playoff finals, Pouliot scored 5 goals with 25 assists and was plus-13 with 38 penalty minutes. In 21 playoff games, he scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was plus-3 with 16 penalty minutes. Pouliot played in five games for Canada West and had 3 assists with 2 penalty minutes at the WHC.
2011-12: In Pouloit's second season, the Winterhawks slipped to second in the U.S. Division, finishing two points behind Tri-City, but again reached the WHL Finals. In 72 regular season games, Pouliot scored 11 goals with 48 assists and was plus-15 with 79 penalty minutes. In 16 playoff games entering the finals, he scored 3 goals with 10 assists and was plus-5 with 16 penalty minutes. Pouliot was ranked 12th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Pouliot signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Penguins in September of 2012. He made his pro hockey debut in the AHL playoffs following an extended post-season with the WHL's Portland Winterhawks. Poulliot made his only AHL appearance with Wilkes-Barre Scranton on June 1st, skating in Game 5 of the Penguins' series against Syracuse, and was -2 with no points nor penalty minutes. A nagging ankle injury limited Poulliot to 44 games for Portland during the regular season. He scored 9 goals with 36 assists and was was +35 with 60 penalty minutes. Pouliot played a key role in the post-season when the Winterhawks captured their first WHL title and reached the Memorial Cup championship game against Halifax. In 21 WHL playoff games he scored 4 goals with 16 assists and was +9 with 12 penalty minutes. Pouliot scored 2 goals with 5 assists, finishing -4 with 10 penalty minutes, in five Memorial Cup games.
Pouliot is an exceptionally mobile offensive defenseman with elite vision and puck-distribution. He has a blistering shot from the point, can transition the puck with his head up, and can play a lot of minutes in all situations. He is not a physically imposing presence on the ice, but is extremely strong and not shy from battling for the puck in corners. He possesses a strong, wide base and is difficult to knock off the puck. He is also an explosive skater who is able to quickly rush the puck up ice.
Outside of getting stronger and faster, which is something that practically all prospects need to do, there is little in Pouliot’s game that could be considered a weakness. He will need to continue to improve his defensive play, but his game will always be predicated around creating offensive chances and taking some degree of risk.
Pouliot will return to the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL for the 2013-14 season where he will try to compete for another WHL championship and another berth in the Memorial Cup. Long-term he projects to be an offensively dynamic top-four defenseman in the NHL.