Instant analysis: Flyers sign Derrick Pouliot to a one-year deal

NHL: JUL 14 St. Louis Blues Training Camp
MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO – JULY 14: St. Louis Blues defenseman Derrick Pouliot (51) during the St. Louis Blues Training Camp, on July 14, 2020, at the Centene Community Ice Center, Maryland Heights, MO. Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)

In what’s expected to be a quiet free agency period for the Flyers, the team has reportedly made its first under-the-radar free-agent signing of the window. Derrick Pouliot is the man in question, signed to a 1-year 2-way deal.

The 26-year-old was formerly a first-round pick of the Penguins back in 2012 but has bumped down the league ever since. Despite some flurries of production in 2017-18 for Vancouver, Pouliot’s streaky play and inconsistencies defensively saw him fall out of favor.

The left-handed defenseman was most recently a member of the St Louis Blues, where he appeared in just two games. He spent most of his time with San Antonio in the AHL, notching 39 points in 58 games.

He has over 200 games of NHL experience across six years and could well be an intriguing depth option heading into next season. It’s certainly a low-risk, high-reward move.

The Flyers went offense-heavy during the Draft and with Niskanen retiring, there is a window of opportunity for someone to sneak in and make some noise, especially with Gostisbehere’s uncertain future.

Pouliot has been disappointing throughout his NHL career, rarely living up to the expectation associated with the #8 overall label. In a worst-case scenario, they have a regular AHL starter who could be called up in a pinch. At best, someone formerly of high regard to push the young guys this Summer as the Flyers try to work out their blue-line blueprint.

Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire