Flyers sign a depth defenseman


The Flyers on Friday added to their blue-line depth at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley by signing Derrick Pouliot to a one-year, two-way, $700,000 deal.

Pouliot played two games for the Blues in 2019-20, spending the majority of the season in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage. The 6-foot, 196-pound lefty shot led the Rampage with 39 points (seven goals, 32 assists) over 58 games. 

The 26-year-old's best NHL season came in 2017-18, when he scored 22 points (three goals, 19 assists) through 71 games for the Canucks. Pouliot played 17:51 minutes per game and blocked 118 shots that season.

Pouliot was a 2012 first-round pick of the Penguins.

"A young man that has played games in the NHL, can certainly challenge and compete for opportunity at the NHL level," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Saturday in a video interview. "While he’s down in the American League, he’s a guy that can quarterback a power play. Our power play in Lehigh last year struggled and we have a lot of really good, young, talented forwards there. Having a guy like Pouliot, who can bring the puck up the ice, who can quarterback your power play, we think will help unlock some of their offensive potential and allow the team to be more productive. Pouliot I think was a really good depth signing for us and a guy that can certainly play games but if he’s in Lehigh, will help that team and help our young players get better.”

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NHL free agency opened Friday at noon ET. Last month, Fletcher mentioned adding organizational depth on the back end as an offseason initiative. The Flyers also need to replace veteran, all-situation blueliner Matt Niskanen, who retired on Monday.

"Wyatt Kalynuk chose to sign with a different team rather than sign with us," Fletcher said in September. "He was a young man we were kind of counting on coming into the organization this year and pushing, giving us a little bit more depth. We have Cam York coming down the road[Egor] Zamula's turning pro, but I think defensive depth is another area that we're going to have to be mindful of as we go forward."

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