3 Years After (Pouliot)

Recently (on hfboards and Guy’s Top 20) Marc Pouliot seems to be taking a bit of a shit-kicking and I’m a little mystified by it all.

Marc Pouliot has had some injury problems along the road to the NHL and has most certainly arrived at the starting gate later than hoped. Despite being a later first round pick, he was in a very deep draft year and the expectation was that he would arrive at the same time as the other kids from 2003.

I think Pouliot has clearly established himself as an attractive option for the top 12F (possibly top 9) this fall, but some observers feel he’s barely hanging on and may be sent out.

I honestly cannot imagine it happening with this thin forward group. If Pouliot gets sent out when the list of “established” NHL players above him includes only Horcoff, Stoll, Reasoner (arguably), Torres, Penner, Moreau, Sanderson, Hemsky (that’s 8 forwards folks) then either he lost a limb this summer or MacTavish went hunting with Dick Cheney.

How HAS Marc Pouliot progressed compared to other first rounders in 2003. Here’s a list of 2003 1st rd picks and their NHL games played:

  1. Eric Staal 245
  2. Nathan Horton 208
  3. Nikolai Zherdev 201
  4. Dustin Brown 191
  5. Brent Burns 185
  6. Tomas Vanek 163
  7. Zach Parise 163
  8. Milan Michalek 161
  9. Dion Phaneuf 161
  10. Ryan Kesler 158
  11. Ryan Suter 153
  12. Brent Seabrook 150
  13. Jeff Carter 143
  14. Marc Andre Fleury 139
  15. Ryan Getzlaf 139
  16. Mike Richards 138
  17. Corey Perry 138
  18. Patrick Eaves 131
  19. Steve Bernier 101
  20. Braydon Coburn 58
  21. Robert Nilsson 57
  22. Marc Pouliot 54
  23. Jeff Tambellini 48
  24. Andrei Kostitsyn 34
  25. Mark Stuart 32
  26. Eric Fehr 25
  27. Anthony Stewart 20
  28. Shawn Belle 9

Incredibly, only two first round picks have failed to play in the NHL (NYR Hugh Jessiman was selected 12th and LA’s Brian Boyle was picked 26th) and in terms of GP Pouliot is exactly where he was selected (22nd overall). Four players selected after Pouliot are well ahead in terms of GP (Kesler, Richards, Perry and Eaves) and 4 selected before Pouliot (Mark Stuart, Eric Fehr, Hugh Jessiman, Andrei Kostitsyn) trail in career GP.

It’s a terribly interesting draft. I’d wager that two of the guys in the 20s (Pouliot, Tambellini) end up having fine careers, and betting against some of the other fellows down the list is probably a bad idea too. On the other hand, I think Brent Burns gets horribly overrated using the GP marker, but no list is perfect.

How does Pouliot compare to Oilers first rounders at the same point in their careers? Well, there have been 3 NHL seasons since the 2003 draft, and here’s a list of NHL games played by Oilers first rounders (10 seasons, 1994-2003) three full NHL seasons after their draft:

  1. Ryan Smyth 133
  2. Ales Hemsky 130
  3. Boyd Devereaux 99
  4. Marc Pouliot 54
  5. Steve Kelly 51
  6. Jason Bonsignore 21
  7. Jani Rita 1
  8. Mathieu Descoteaux 0
  9. Michel Riesen 0
  10. Michael Henrich 0
  11. Alexei Mikhnov 0
  12. Jesse Niinimaki 0

There’s an exceptional amount of garbage in this group, more than half the list washed out of the league without really have an impact. Devereaux broke into the lineup when the team had some decent depth, so I don’t think we can dismiss the accomplishment just because he didn’t develop as had been hoped on draft day. He was (and is now) an NHL player, and that has value.

I know it must seem like 20 years of me defending the guy, but there’s no clear evidence so far that he’s close to a bust. Zach Parise played most often with Langebrunner and Zajac in 06-07 and played softer-than-average minutes at EV and he put up 40 ES points in 82gp.

Pouliot had 10ES points in 46 games, which gives Parise a massive points-per-game adantage using the boxcar numbers (.488 to .217 for Parise). Pouliot played against pretty tough competition with Torres and Jacques as his most often used linemates.

Now let’s look at the EV difference between the two per 60 minutes, understanding Parise was placed in the best possible situation and that Pouliot was put in a very difficult one based on age and experience.

  • Pouliot EV TOI: 511:29 (8.525)
  • Parise EV TOI: 1171:47 (19.53)
  • Pouliot EV/60mins: 1.17
  • Parise EV/60mins: 2.05

I suspect that by this time next season Marc Pouliot will have closed this gap and every other one worth paying attention to, because right now he’s pretty underrated.

Even by Edmonton Oiler fans.

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7 Responses to "3 Years After (Pouliot)"

  1. momentai says:

    What a unique comparison. Parise vs Pouliot. I’ve never thought of them as comparables before. ;)

    All kidding aside, I simply cannot fathom how people can throw Pouliot under the bus by the information that he’s “only been training in Cali for 2 weeks”.

    I’d imagine that those are the same people rubbing their Schremp posters at home hoping that with Pouliot out of the way, Schremp is that much closer to dipsy-doodling himself into a concussion. Heck, anybody actually believing Nilsson is a better player at this point is probably kidding themselves.

  2. PunjabiOil says:

    MacT and Lowe have said a few things this summer that have challenged Pouliot and his conditioning, so naturally, people are going to read into a blurb about Pouliot staying in California for only one week.

    We find out later that Pouliot does come back for another week, and did spend time conditioning in Quebec. Honestly, it doesn’t matter where.

    Anyways, I saw Pouliot again today at Clare Drake. He was playing with Hemsky. I was very impressed with his size, speed, and passing ability. Watching him play, he’s a lock to make the team and help the team win hockey games.

    As for Parise, yeah he could become another Comrie – but the guy has performed at every level possible. I’ll stop short of saying I’d rather have drafted Pouliot over Parise – the next few years will tell an interesting tale.

  3. Asiaoil says:

    The decisions at that draft were interesting. I still have no issues with passing on Parise – we have a ton of similar prospects now and had more than a couple then. But passing on Getzlaf made less sense – even considering 20/20 hindsight. He’s big (reason we passed om Parise), local and can shoot. There were a few character issues floating around – but still – it was a funny choice to pass on him.

    That being said – the way we have treated MAP has a lot more to do with the Comrie fallout than anything MAP has or has not done. Since Comrie got the royal treatment and then spat in the org’s face – it’s been tough love for every first rounder. MAP will have a solid season as long as he shows up in decent shape – he’s big, smart, skilled and ready to play a solid 2 way game. He’ll be fine.

  4. oilerdiehard says:

    I tend agree that MAP is going to be a good player for a long time in this league.

    But he has had some knocks as well. I know everyone loves to give BBO and other Schremp fanatics the gears with the healthy scratches.

    But MAP was also scratched last season in the AHL from what I recall and I remember posting a link (in your comments section) from a story / interview with WBS coach Richards saying he was getting out of position in recent games and making bad choices and that is why he was yanked.

    Also sometime around November (I think?) MacT had a quote that MAP had a job pretty much locked up in camp. Then in the last pre-season game MacT felt that he was not giving much effort at all in that game and seemed disappointed a kid fighting for his first NHL job would put in an effort like that. He said that bought his ticket to the minors.

    Of course for every knock or critical comment about MAP you can probably find 3 absolutely glowing ones.

    The year before last I think it was at the rookie camp a couple of the Oil brass said he had a fairly lackluster camp. Then there was a quote from MAP saying he thought he played very well and did his best. I have to admit that me thinking “uh oh” at the time but I have warmed to him since then and just chalked it up to being a slow starter.

    I am not sure if it is the conditioning thing that has hampered him early on in recent seasons or not. I do recall there was a newspaper article link posted I think on HF in the Hamilton newspaper. A day in the life of MAP and a couple other players, kind of thing and he made comments from what I remember about only wanting to play hockey and he disliked having to work out away from the rink and often avoided it.

    It is just mental maturity for me and I think it is coming along nicely now for MAP and he will grab a job by the throat this year and not look back.

  5. oilerdiehard says:

    I think above the pre-season game quote might have been on a radio interview.

  6. MikeP says:

    Pouliot :: Parise
    Stoll :: Lombardi

    The Devil and the Flame have lots of flash and style, the two Oilers not so much. Stoll gets the job done though; I’m certain he plays against much better competition than Lombardi now. For both sets we’ll see how things work out in 5-10 years.

  7. Bank Shot says:

    You could also compare Pouliot to the players taken directly after him. Kesler and Richards. Two guys more similiar in size and playstyle then Mr.Parise. Hopefully Marc can close the gap on them as well this season.

    I kind of fear that he’ll end up being something of a tweener. Less capable of becoming the shutdown guy Kesler could be, and a lesser scoring version of two-way Richards.

    While skeptical of Pouliot’s ceiling, I couldn’t really imagine him not breaking camp with the Oilers this season.

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