A few years ago, Derrick Pouliot was basically a regular on Vancouver’s defense corps but his stock has slipped since then. Now, the 27-year-old has opted to settle for a minor league contract as Henderson, Vegas’ affiliate, announced that they’ve inked him to a one-year deal.
It’s a bit surprising that Pouliot had to settle for a contract that doesn’t have an NHL portion as he was able to secure two-way pacts the last two seasons with a $425K guarantee. While financial terms of this contract weren’t disclosed, AHL-only contracts don’t typically approach that high of a price tag.
Pouliot spent last season in Philadelphia’s system, playing in 25 games with AHL Lehigh Valley where he recorded three goals and 11 assists, decent numbers for a defenseman. That helped earn him four separate recalls to the taxi squad during the year but it didn’t materialize into any NHL action, nor did it evidently help him to earn a two-way deal this time around in free agency.
Pouliot, the eighth-overall pick in 2012 to Pittsburgh, has played in 202 career NHL contests between the Penguins, Canucks, and Blues, notching eight goals and 40 assists. But if he wants to make it back to the top level, he’ll have to have his contract first converted to an NHL deal. Considering Vegas already has 47 out of 50 contracts on the books with Dylan Coghlan needing a deal as a restricted free agent, they will likely need to move out a player or two first to give themselves some wiggle room on that front. Accordingly, Pouliot’s stay with the Silver Knights may be a long one while Vegas adds a capable veteran defender on a no-risk contract.