Despite winning 4-0 on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Penguins have decided to make a change prior to their game against the Buffalo Sabres tonight. Struggling young defender Derrick Pouliot has been sent back down, while Frank Corrado and Oskar Sundqvist have been called up from the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. The team will still be without stars Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Olli Maattaa and several others for tonight’s game.
Pouliot, 23, continues to squander chances with the NHL club with lax defensive play and positioning errors. There is no doubt he has the talent to play at the highest level with the puck on his stick, but his coverage in front of the net and battle along the boards is still not good enough for a team looking for another championship. The former eighth-overall pick will go back down and try to find another gear in his game before the next opportunity presents itself.
Meanwhile, Corrado will get his first chance with the NHL team since coming over in a deadline deal with Toronto that saw Eric Fehr go the other way. Corrado’s lack of opportunity was well documented in Toronto, as he floundered somewhere between leagues for months at a time. The 23-year old has played seven games for the WBS Penguins since the deal, registering just one point. Pittsburgh will see if he can bring some level of defensive responsibility as they look to find a partner for Mark Streit until someone returns from injury.
Sundqvist has dominated the AHL while he’s been there this season, scoring 40 points in 55 games. The big forward has bounced up and down this season and gotten into four games with Pittsburgh, held pointless throughout. The 22-year old third-round pick looks like he’s developing nicely into a bottom-six player capable of some secondary scoring and adding a physical element to the game.