Courtesy of Point Park University

D’Orio raves about Penguins’ top two picks


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Nathan Legare, Alex D'Orio, Samuel Poulin. -- QMJHL

The Penguins drafted two QMJHL players -- power forwards Samuel Poulin and Nathan Legare -- with their first two selections of the 2019 NHL draft in Vancouver.

Those are two pretty familiar names for Penguins goaltending prospect Alex D'Orio, who played both with and against Legare, and against Poulin, during his time in the QMJHL.

D'Orio played for the QMJHL's Saint John Sea Dogs for two and half seasons from 2016-19, and was traded to Legare's team, the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, this past January. As someone who has been both a teammate and opponent of Legare, he's very familiar with his game.

"His shot is incredible, especially for his age," said D'Orio. "He just whips it. He can be extremely offensive, and at the same time he can play hard and physical, close to the boards. Overall, a good player. I'm happy for the Penguins to have the chance to have him."

As D'Orio said, one of Legare's greatest strengths is his shot. Legare was able to effectively make use of his shot last season, as his 45 goals were the second-most in the QMJHL in 2018-19. As a goaltender, D'Orio would much rather be on the same side as a guy like Legare, rather than be in net against him.

"When I was in Saint John I played against him. It was pretty hard because he's shooting from everywhere," D'Orio recalled. "He's always in front of the net looking for rebounds. I was happy to have him on Baie-Comeau."

D'Orio enjoyed his time in Baie-Comeau with Legare for Legare's personality off the ice as well.

"He's a great guy. He loves to try to find ways to be with the team," said D'Orio. "He's probably going to do some jokes while he's around the team."

D'Orio isn't quite as familiar with Poulin. The Sea Dogs and Drakkar are in the QMJHL's Eastern Conference, and Poulin's Sherbrooke Phoenix are in the Western Conference, so he didn't play against him as often as he did Legare.

D'Orio's Sea Dogs played Poulin's Phoenix on Nov. 24, 2018. The Sea Dogs lost 5-2, but D'Orio was named the No. 1 star of the game for a 54-save (yes, 54) performance. Poulin's seven shots were the second-most among Phoenix players that night, and while he didn't score, he picked up the primary assist on the Phoenix's first goal of the game:

Three of Poulin's shots that night were from high-danger areas, showing some of that same ability to drive to the net as Legare. Like Legare, Poulin also possesses an impressive shot.

"We played a little bit against him," D'Orio said of Poulin. "I think he looks a little bit like Legare, with what I saw. He's a good player for a team to draft, so I'm pretty happy about that."

D'Orio's QMJHL days are over, and he'll play his first professional season in 2019-20. If all goes well in the next few years, it shouldn't be long before he's on the same ice as Legare and Poulin again.

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