Our annual, 2021 version of the top players under the age of 25 in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
2021 Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25: Graduates and Departed
#25: Santeri Airola
#24: Jan Drozg
#23: Will Reilly
#22: Clayton Phillips
#21: Chase Yoder
#20: Kirill Tankov
#19: Raivis Ansons
#18: Lukas Svejkovsky
#17: Judd Caulfield
#16: Jonathan Gruden
#15: Kasper Bjorkqvist
#14: Jordy Bellerive
#13: Cam Lee
#12: Drew O’Connor
#11: Joel Blomqvist
#10: Isaac Belliveau
#9: Calle Clang
#8: Filip Lindberg
#7: Nathan Legare
#6: Tristan Broz
#5: Valtteri Puustinen
#4: Filip Hallander
#3: Samuel Poulin
2020 Ranking: 5
Age: 20 (February 25, 2001)
Height/Weight: 6’2” / 214 lbs.
Acquired Via: 2019 first-round pick (21st overall)
Samuel Poulin is one of the most underrated prospects in the #NHL. I except him to make a push for a spot on the #Penguins next season. #LetsGoPens pic.twitter.com/EsMW5XjUX4— Clare McManus (@NZClareMc) May 5, 2020
Something has to be said for the determination, the hand-eye coordination, the inside-out move he Poulin on the opposing player and the fact that he still scored despite everything that was going against him. A true highlight reel goal if there ever was one.
OT Winner by Samuel Poulin (@penguins) in a 3-2 @ForeursVD victory vs @ArmadaBLB. Assist to Jakob Pelletier. (@NHLFlames) #QMJHL #LHJMQ pic.twitter.com/k4HOO1wHXg— Denis Leblanc (@DenisL_1981) February 13, 2021
Little bit of back-and-forth here before Poulin ends the game with a quality snipe.
Nathan Legare ➡️ Samuel Poulin for Poulin's first goal with the Foreurs pic.twitter.com/BUrzAFSuL8— Taylor Haase (@TaylorHaasePGH) February 1, 2021
Teammates working together to score a goal? It’s something we could see in the not-so-distant future...
If Poulin would have shot that puck any harder, it would have created a hole in the netting.
An unmarked Samuel Poulin is a dangerous player.
Updated Scouting Reports (via DobberProspects):
August 2021 – In his final year of major junior, Poulin was a dominant force on a stacked Val d’Or team. The Foreurs swept their first three series only to fall to the Victoriaville Tigers in six games in the finals. His production decreased slightly from last year, but that can be attributed to becoming one of many superstar players after being easily the best player in Sherbrooke. Make no mistake, Poulin made the QMJHL look easy this season and is clearly ready for the pro game. He was consistently bodying defenders and making high-end plays and really turned it on in the playoffs. He should get a long look at Pittsburgh’s roster this year. -Kyle Watson
January 2021 – Poulin has been traded to the Val D’or Foreurs in exchange for draft picks. He will play alongside childhood friend and fellow Penguins prospect, Nathan Legare, who was also recently traded there. The Foreurs have been loading up with talent as of late, also adding Jordan Spence and Jakob Pelletier, who both played for Team Canada at the World Juniors. -Kyle Watson
January 2021 – The Penguins crown jewel prospect has been assigned to the QMJHL for his final season in Sherbrooke. -Kyle Watson
December 2020 – On one of the best Canadian teams in World Juniors history, Poulin was one of the final cuts. With the QMJHL season set to restart on January 21st, he will return to Sherbrooke to captain the Phoenix. He will need to lead the way for his team, who have yet to record a win in five games so far this season, despite beginning the season first in the CHL Top 10 Rankings. -Kyle Watson
Samuel Poulin, much like Nathan Legare (whom I wrote about at this time last week), saw his junior hockey career come to an end during a disjointed-but-completed 2021 QMJHL season.
Registering 11 goals and 31 points in 24 regular season games, Poulin, much like Legare, began his final junior season playing on a different team compared to the one he finished the season with.
Poulin and Legare rode their success with the Val-d’Or Foreurs all the way to the President’s Cup Final series, falling to the Victoriaville Tigres in six games.
On an individual level, Poulin finishes his junior career with 229 points in 192 regular season games played. He has progressed well throughout the Quebec League, but now the real test begins.
At 20 years old, Poulin’s first-round pedigree has been on full display since draft day, but his transition into the AHL will determine how much longer he must wait before his name gets called through the PA system at PPG Paints Arena.
However, that’s not to say that Poulin’s wait will be a long one. He does have a chance, albeit a small one, to make the NHL roster out of training camp. His goal will be to try and usurp the likes of Anthony Angello, Dominik Simon, Sam Lafferty, and perhaps a few others, to lock up one of the final forward spots.
Even if Poulin is sent to Wilkes-Barre to begin the 2021-22 season, with Pittsburgh’s infamous injury luck, the Laval, Quebec native could make his NHL debut as a midseason callup, should circumstances call for such a transaction.
Ron Hextall gained a reputation for playing the long game when developing his prospects during his time with the Flyers, and given Poulin’s importance to the Penguins’ prospect cupboard, I suspect Hextall will want to make sure Poulin’s development is not severely hindered in any major way.
The power forward has all the tools at his disposal to live up to his previously-established billing. His size and offensive skillset check the boxes that Hextall and Brian Burke like to see in their forwards. Right now, Poulin’s ceiling is that of a respectable, middle-six winger that should help anchor the next generation of Penguins teams.
It’s become a matter of when, not if, for Samuel Poulin. He will get his time to prove his worth, but may need to wait just a bit longer before putting on a black-and-gold sweater.