Like all top-10 draft picks, Derrick Pouliot was born into the National Hockey League with the equivalent of a silver spoon in his mouth. Alex Biega, by contrast, had to eat with his fingers when he was lucky enough to even find food.

But time and experience can even things, and the Vancouver Canucks defencemen are trying now to do the same thing: stick in the NHL long enough to prove they are everyday players.

Sure, Biega is 29 and Pouliot 23. And Pouliot, recently traded to the Canucks by the Pittsburgh Penguins on the eve of the regular season, is less established as a pro than Biega and possesses far more upside. The Penguins, after all, didn’t select him eighth overall in the 2012 draft at random.

But Biega and Pouliot needed early-season injuries to Canucks regulars to get their chance to play. And 10 days apart, Alex Edler and Troy Stecher left the Vancouver lineup with knee injuries. Edler returned two weeks ago and was immediately replaced on the injured list by Chris Tanev.

So, Biega and Pouliot have played for a month. And they’ve probably played the best hockey of their careers, which have been neither smooth nor easy for either of them.

With Tanev and Stecher about to return, Biega and Pouliot played with desperation when the Canucks beat the Penguins 5-2 on Wednesday.