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Ex-Hurricanes defenseman not feeling pressure

| Tuesday, July 10, 2012, 7:54 p.m.
Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin skates during the team's development camp on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, at Consol Energy Center. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
The Penguins' Brian Dumoulin during development camp at Consol Energy Center July 10, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
The Penguins' Brian Dumoulin during development camp at Consol Energy Center July 10, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

When Jordan Staal was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes on June 22, he was swapped for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and the eighth selection in the first-round. But for Dumoulin, 20, a defenseman out of Boston College, stepping into Consol Energy Center isn't stepping into any sort of shadow.

“He's my way in as a defenseman, and it's my first year pro,” he said. “I'm looking to gain all the knowledge I can right now, and hopefully there's no pressure on me trying to live up to Jordan Staal, and just me being the player I am, the player they traded for.”

But Penguins assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald said feeling that pressure isn't out of the question.

“I'm sure he does, but he shouldn't,” Fitzgerald said. “Being traded is something that isn't in your power as a player. I got the opportunity to sit down and have lunch with him just after the draft, and he's extremely excited to join our organization. He'll be a big part of our future.”

• Fitzgerald said that Boston College is a place that matches up with the Pens. “For the most part, we're a college organization from top to bottom. We believe in the NCAA,” Fitzgerald said Tuesday. “When you look at a school like Boston College, when you step foot on that university, their expectations are to win an NCAA national championship.” Of the 34 prospects invited to development camp, 11 are college hockey players.

• Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta, Penguins' 2012 first-round draft picks, filled the shoes that prospects Joe Morrow and Beau Bennett wore in previous years, managing the expectations of being a top selection. Simon Despres has stepped in to help. “I'm just trying to do like the other guys did to me when they came here,” Despres said, “just trying to make them feel more comfortable in the room and have fun.”

• As Alexander Semin remains an unsigned free agent, the rivalry with the Capitals doesn't mean he's out of the question. “You always have strong feelings about the opponents you play against and you battle against,” Bylsma said. “Those are always there, and they have very little to do with whether they are good players or whether they can be on your team.”

• If Matt Cooke is spotted around development camp this week, it is only the fault of summer workouts. “He is working out, which is helping out,” Bylsma said.

— Meredith Qualls

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