Pittsburgh acquired the eighth pick from the Carolina Hurricanes along with center Brandon Sutter and defenseman Brian Dumoulin in exchange for Jordan Staal.
Pouliot, 18, was ranked No. 12 overall among North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Pouliot was fourth among Western Hockey League (WHL) defensemen with 59 points (11G-48A) for the Portland Winterhawks last season. His 48 assists ranked second among WHL blueliners.
A native of Estevan, Saskatchewan, Pouliot is teammates with Pittsburgh’s 2011 first-round draft pick, Joe Morrow. The two spent time this season playing together on the Winterhawks’ power play. During the postseason, Pouliot placed second among all WHL defensemen with 17 points (3G-14A) in 22 postseason games as Portland lost to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL Final.
Pouliot has played the past three seasons with Portland, tallying 90 points (16G-74A) in 145 regular-season games after being the first-overall player selected by the Winterhawks during the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft.
In addition to playing with Portland, Pouliot has represented Team Canada twice internationally. He helped the Canadians capture a gold medal at the 2011 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament with three points (1G-2A). Pouliot also captained Team-West at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, when he posted three assists in five games and was named to the tournament all-star team.
With their second first-round selection of the 2012 NHL Draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins drafted defenseman Olli Maatta of the London Knights with the 22nd-overall pick.
Maatta, 17, was ranked No. 8 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. In his first season in North America, Maatta led all Ontario Hockey League rookie defensemen this year with 32 points (5G-27A) in 58 regular-season games after being the No. 1-overall selection of the Canadian Hockey League import draft.
The 6-foot-2, 202-pound Maatta’s strong play during the postseason propelled the Knights to an OHL championship and a runner-up finish at the Memorial Cup in May. Maatta posted a team-leading (tied) 23 points (6G-17A) in 17 playoff games. His 17 assists led the team.