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[Signing] Penguins Sign Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta to Entry-Level Contracts

Alex the Great

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed their 2012 first-round draft picks, defensemen Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta, to three-year entry-level contracts, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.

Both contracts will begin whenever they turn professional.

Pouliot, 18, was the first of Pittsburgh’s two first-round draft picks after being chosen 8th overall with the selection acquired in a draft-night trade from the Carolina Hurricanes. Pouliot attended Pittsburgh’s prospect development camp in July.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Pouliot had a breakout season with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) in 2011-12, ranking second among team blueliners behind fellow Penguins prospect Joe Morrow with 59 points (11G-48A) in 72 regular-season games. His goal, assist and point totals were all career highs.

Pouliot, who hails from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, was even better for the Winterhawks during the postseason, as his 17 playoff points (3G-14A) tied Morrow for the most among WHL defensemen. Pouliot’s 14 assists and eight power-play assists both led all WHL blueliners.

Pouliot, who helped Team Canada capture a gold medal at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, has played the past two-plus seasons with the Winterhawks after being the No. 1-overall selection in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft. He has tallied 16 goals, 74 assists, 90 points and a plus-28 rating in 145 regular-season contests. Pouliot has added 21 points (4G-17A) and a plus-7 rating in 43 postseason games.

Maatta, 18, was drafted by the Penguins with the No. 22-overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft held at CONSOL Energy Center.

The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Maatta spent his first season in North America during the 2011-12 campaign with London of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), helping the Knights win the OHL playoff championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup.

Maatta, a native of Jyvaskyla, Finland, joined the Knights after being the No. 1-overall selection of the 2011 Canadian Hockey League import draft. He earned a berth on the OHL First-Team All-Rookie squad after tallying 32 points (5G-27A) and a plus-25 rating in 58 regular-season games. Maatta led all Knights’ blueliners in goals, assists and points.

During the postseason, Maatta tied for the team lead and ranked sixth in the OHL with 23 points (6G-17A) in 19 games. His 17 assists led the team. Maatta posted an even rating in four Memorial Cup contests as the Knights finished the tournament as runner-up to the host Shawinigan Cataractes.

Maatta has represented Finland several times internationally, including each of the last two World Junior Championships. In 2011, Maatta became the first 16 year old to play for Finland at the WJC since 1998. Maatta also participated in the 2011 World Under-18 Championships, totaling four points (1G-3A) in six games while being named one of Finland’s top-three players at the tournament.

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