Derrick Pouliot is 22 years old. He's had 4 season to crack the Penguins roster, two of which Pittsburgh has won the Stanley Cup, the other 2 where he was Juniors eligible.
He is the Penguins top defensive prospect, is likely going to run $800k or less, and be able to move up or down from the AHL team to fill a spot. The next best option out of AHL seems to be Ruhwedel and Gaunce (if resigned), who are both 27 yrs old, Corrado (24yrs old), and some guy named Benstsson (23yrs old, 172 lbs, and hasn't played N.American hockey) ... none of which have the offensive upside that the Pouliot has at 22yrs old and over 200 lbs.
The Pens currently have Letang, Schultz, Cole, Maata, and Dumoulin on the roster for next season. That leaves the 6th defensive spot to fill. They can hit the Free Agent market and still retain Pouliot for the future, if they don't think he's ready at 22.
So keep him or get rid of him? Is 22 to old for a defensive prospect to crack such a deep defense on a cup defending team? Would it be better for the Penguins to move on from his potential? and for what?
Dumoulin cracked the roster at 24, when their defense was rebuilding, after being passed over by Burtozzo and Despres on the depth chart, who were both traded for more experienced players.
Letang ... at 20, on a team that struggling to make the playoffs, and a fan base that questioned if he were worthy, until around 23, or 2 years AFTER winning a Stanley Cup.
Maatta ... at 19 during a season that had Engelland, Burttozzo, Despres, and Scuderi all playing filling in for Letang and Martin. who both missed most the season, and leading into a year where major pieces of their D was going to become free agents. Namely Niskanin and Orpick.
Cole broke in at 24 or 25, struggling to make STL's roster.