1st-rounder Samuel Poulin out to beat odds, make Penguins at 18 | TribLIVE.com

1st-rounder Samuel Poulin out to beat odds, make Penguins at 18

Chris Adamski
Samuel Poulin smiles after being chosen by the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first round of the NHL hockey draft Friday, June 21, 2019, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

It has been five years since a rookie first-round pick has been present at Pittsburgh Penguins development camp. That’s for a simple reason: they Penguins haven’t made a first-round pick since 2014.

The draft rarely translates into players making an impact at the NHL level, but occasionally it happens.

Which means there is an outside chance the Penguins will have an 18-year-old first-round pick on their team for the first time since Jordan Staal 13 years ago.

And that player, Samuel Poulin, isn’t going to shy away from taking his shot at that.

“I am gonna try to make the team right away,” Poulin said Wednesday after the first practice of the camp. “It’s my dream to play in the NHL, so I’ll try to earn my place on the team.”

It remains unlikely Poulin would crack the Penguins at such a young age, even for a cameo. But stranger things have happened.

For example, eight first-round picks from 2018 played in the NHL last season. As expected, the higher the pick, the better the chances they debut that first year. The top four picks stuck with their NHL teams all season long. But the No. 23 overall pick last season, Isac Lundestrom of Anaheim, played 15 games as a rookie.

That’s two spots ahead of where Poulin was taken. As the son of a former NHL player and at 212 pounds, Poulin might have the physical and mental maturity to pull it off.

“I am trying to,” he said, “so I will do everything I can do make that team right away.”

Keep up with the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Penguins
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