Samuel Poulin will be one of the forwards on the Penguins' expanded roster for the playoffs, he told TVA Sports on Friday.
"Honestly, I would be lying if I said I didn't expect news about the Penguins," Poulin told TVA Sports in French. "I knew that I was a bit in their plans. Since the start of the pandemic, I trained knowing that I may be called back to practice with them, so I always had that in mind. To really receive the news, it proved that I had not trained for nothing and that I had put the efforts for the right reasons, so I am very satisfied with that."
Teams are expected to be able to carry 28 total skaters and an unlimited number of goaltenders on their expanded rosters for the playoffs. The Penguins currently have 23 healthy skaters on the NHL roster -- 15 forwards and eight defensemen -- so they will likely add three forwards to the expanded playoff roster before training camp begins on July 10. Poulin will be one of them.
Poulin, 19, is still in Quebec, and hasn't been able to skate since the QMJHL season ended in March. Instead, he's been rollerblading to keep in shape. He hopes to be able to skate next week at the practice facility of the Canadiens -- the Penguins' first opponent -- in Brossard, Quebec, when the facility opens on Monday. The NHL is allowing players to skate in NHL facilities other than that of their own team during Phase 2 as long as ice time allows for it, and only four Canadiens -- Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin, Charles Hudon and Michael McNiven -- are currently in Montreal.
Poulin pointed out the similarities between his situation and that of his father, Patrick, when Patrick was his age.
"When my father started playing in 1992, at 19, he was called back in the playoffs," he said. At the time, he was playing for the Whalers, and it was against the Canadiens. 28 years later, I am recalled too, and it is still against the Canadiens! ”
Poulin hopes to get some advice from his father, who appeared in seven playoff games for the Whalers that season before going on to have a 10-year career in the NHL.
"When I am going to be in the last days before leaving, I think we are going to have a conversation on this, he will give me good advice to prepare well," he said.
Poulin also told TVA Sports that he's received an invitation to Hockey Canada's junior camp, which has to be held virtually this summer. Being included in the camp is the first step to Poulin appearing in his first World Junior Championship in his final year of eligibility.
"The news from Hockey Canada is very fun to receive," he said. "Last year, I did not have the chance to prove myself with them, but this year, if ever there is a tournament, it would be fun to participate."
For now, though, Poulin's focus is on preparing to join the Penguins' expanded roster for the playoffs.
"You prepare for any eventuality, if there is ever an injured person, and that they call upon my services, I will be as ready as possible," he said. "I want to take my chance, I don't want to get there and still be in training camp mode. I want to be at 100 percent of my ability."
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