Brian Dumoulin grew up a Bruins fan in Maine and played three seasons at Boston College before turning pro this year. He was drafted by Carolina in the second round in 2009 and had been making plans to dovetail with the Hurricanes this season.
Still, when he joined the Penguins last month as part of the Jordan Staal trade, Dumoulin had a lot of reasons to feel an instant familiarity with the team and Pittsburgh.
Among his Boston College teammates were Penguins prospects Carl Sneep, Philip Samuelsson and Brian Gibbons. The latter two and Dumoulin are in development camp, which opened Tuesday at Consol Energy Center.
Two of Dumoulin's college roommates, also teammates, were defenseman Patrick Wey and goaltender Parker Milner, both of Mt. Lebanon.
Not only did Dumoulin hear a lot about the Penguins and Pittsburgh, but he also thrived in a Boston College system that is patterned to a large extent after the Penguins' preferred way of playing.
"I remember sitting in the BC locker room watching a tape on the Pittsburgh Penguins, and coach Jerry York saying that this is how we want to play. ... He's made the style of play just like Pittsburgh," Dumoulin said a few hours before his first time on the ice in a Penguins practice jersey.
In that video, Dumoulin watched current and recent Penguins defensemen, including Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang and Rob Scuderi. He got a good feel for how he wants and needs to play.
"I want to be good in the defensive zone, like with puck retrieval," Dumoulin said. "It's important, especially in their system, for me to get back and be the first guy to touch the puck and have my [defensive] partner communicate on where he wants it to go. So I want to get in on the puck first and be physical.
"And [the Penguins] have very mobile defensemen, so I want to be able to jump up into the play and support the forwards."
Dumoulin, 20, has an impressive resume, even beyond the two national titles.
He led Boston College defensemen last season with 28 points, including seven goals, in 44 games and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award that goes to the top college hockey player.
In international play, he helped the United States earn the bronze medal at the 2011 world championships.
Dumoulin also has imposing size, at 6 feet 4, 210 pounds.
Still, he's no shoo-in to make the opening-night roster, thanks to a deep and talented pool of defensemen in the organization beyond the remaining six who spent all of last season in the NHL. Four are first-round draft picks, including Simon Despres, who played 18 games in the NHL last season. Two others, Brian Strait and Robert Bortuzzo, have advanced beyond development camp and seem to be NHL ready, according to coach Dan Bylsma. And Dumoulin's former Boston College teammates Samuelsson and Sneep are in the mix, among others.
"It's going to be really interesting because with the players that we have, the first-rounders, a trade to bring in Brian Dumoulin -- there's lots of scenarios that are going to be created with the opportunity at training camp," Bylsma said.
Dumoulin, who considered turning pro a year ago but instead turned in a strong junior season and came away with his second NCAA title, isn't daunted.
"We're all going to be pushing each other -- here in development camp, at main camp later on," Dumoulin said. "We're all going to get better. I want to be better than each and every one of those defensemen. That's my goal. Hopefully, we can learn things from each other and we can keep pushing each other so that the whole organization grows."
NOTES -- Winger Tom Kuhnhackl, a fourth-round draft pick in 2010 and considered a strong prospect, was a late scratch for development camp because of illness, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach John Hynes said. ... Sneep, who was a restricted free agent, announced via Twitter that he signed a one-year contract extension. ... Winger Matt Cooke has been working out at the arena the past couple of weeks and spent a little time speaking with some of the prospects. ... With a larger than usual group, the prospects are practicing in two sessions, some days a mix of forwards and defensemen and other times split into a session for forwards and a session for defensemen.