Pouliot "Mystery Meat"

By any reasonable measure, Marc Pouliot isn’t getting it done. Again. He’s been my favorite Oilers prospect since he was drafted (Pouliot’s draft pedigree was excellent: a wide range of skills, terrific passer/receiver, had a bit of a temper and was a confident and competent player) but at some point he needs to stand and deliver.

Let’s have a look at his TC so far. This camp started pretty well imo for Pouliot. On the Friday scrimmages I wrote:

Pouliot: Had a very nice game. Played with Schremp for a time and they looked good together, and took a beauty feed from Cogliano on his goal. He’s a really good player, I honestly don’t see why people question him being good enough to make the team. Played RW.

Nothing earth shattering but some nice things. His goal came off the rush and was a nice goal scorer’s goal against an NHL goalie (Roloson). As much as training camp scrimmages count, Pouliot was probably in the black heading into the weekend.

On Sunday’s Joey Moss Cup, I wrote:

Marc Pouliot: Impressed me on several levels today. The goal was nice (not for the shot) because he made a nifty move at the end to get a better shooting angle and clearance from the defender. He battled every shift and paid a price physically (I think it was Smid who hit him pretty damn hard) and made a stunning pass to Marty for what would have been an easy goal but Marty didn’t have his GD stick on the ice. 1 goal, 1 assist.

Now, we get to the pre-season games and his linemates for game one were Patrick Thoresen and Rob Schremp. In that game, Pouliot had a couple of chances and his line seemed to force the issue later in the third period, but the offense wasn’t there. With Reasoner injured and unable to take the final two faceoffs of the game, Pouliot did so and had a positive outcome both times. MacT commented on Pouliot after this game:

“It’s up to him, he’s got to come in and outplay the other guys he’s playing against, guys like Nilsson, Brodziak, who’s going to be the better player? It’s still early and experience tells you that you never jump to conclusions this early in camp, things develop as camp goes on and some guys fall by the wayside who are having success now. He’s going to have lots of opportunity, it’s up to him. I thought he started slow the other night, but came on at the end. One thing you can show is the intensity and the work ethic every shift, I thought he started off slow in that regard but came on at the end.”

He has not outplayed Nilsson or Brodziak, and we are probably at the point where those two spots have already been won. With the center slots appearing to belong to Horcoff-Stoll-Reasoner and one of Cogliano, Gagner or Schremp, the wind blows cold on Marc Pouliot this morning.

Next game his linematers were Sanderson and Cogliano. However, just as Reasoner-Moreau-Brodziak dominated the first game, it was Horcoff and Trukhno who showed well in this one. I saw this one on the “NHL portal” and had this to say:

Played pretty well but the results seem to be going to his competition in terms of scoring. Played fewer than 15 minutes in regulation according to nhl.com, and that’s with Anson Carter playing just 2:39 (add: due to concussion). One assumes he’ll show better when the rosters begin to tighten up, but he should be having more offensive impact in these games.

And that’s where I left it. He’s in again tonight with Schremp and Fredrik Johansson his linemates. The forward roster looks equally divided between the NHL lines (Stoll-Torres-Nilsson and Horcoff-Moreau-Brodziak) and “guys on the outside looking in” (Schremp-Johansson-Pouliot and Cogliano-Jacques-Bodie).

The truth is that almost everyone who was in competition with Pouliot in camp has shown better. The truth is that moving him to RW for this camp may have hurt his chances to make the team.

The truth is that Marc Pouliot needs to be better.

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12 Responses to "Pouliot "Mystery Meat""

  1. Ducey says:

    Well, I think when he left the training “bee” in California after 1 week this summer, he did not do himself any favours.

    Nilson and Brodziak came into camp in very good shape and have impressed. Coincidence?

    If MAP is going to make it initially (say as a 3rd or 4th line center), he is going to have to have some grit in his game. He simply doesn’t seem to be strong enough or committed enough. In his case the two are related.

    I heard Toby Peterson got released yesterday. I actually wouldn’t mind the Oilers inviting him to camp (with MacT’s undertaking not to put him on the PP). I don’t think Robbie S or Cogs are ready for a 4th line center role. Even if they are, they need some depth in the pressbox. Peterson was the best Oilers for some games last year. He is decent on the faceoff and a good penalty killer.

  2. Ribs says:

    I’d still play Pouliot over Brodziak any day of the week. I think he has far more potential than Brodz will ever have, but that’s just me.

    Where is the love for Schremp this year? Gagner and Trukhno get valuable time with Hemsky and Horcoff and Schremp burrows a hole deep into the lineup with no help? His injury is still hampering him, or what?

    And I’ll give a big HELL NO to Toby Petersen. I’d rather have the team tank the season playing some of the young guns than watch another year of Toby’s boring ass.

  3. jon says:

    Pouliot showed terribly at the Toronto game in my eyes, as well as the eyes of my friend who has been a Pouliot-booster from day one. He really is an enigma, as I’d say he looked better in games down the stretch last season than he has so far in this pre-season. Hopefully it’s not indicative of a lack of training or effort on his part.

  4. Showerhead says:

    Do the STN and HMB lines imply that Gagner’s audition on the scoring line will continue or is that just how the rosters are shaking out?

  5. rickibear says:

    I am of the belief that Sandersons flexibility (RW/LW) means a Young RW will also have to beat out the LW at depth or you are not on the team. Nilssons ability to play all three positions forces this even more.

    Who do you think has shown more positionally and strength wise Trukhno or Pouliot?

    Having watched Pouliot this year versus the end of last year we know he can play better.

  6. namflashback says:


    MacT in yesterday’s papers said (courtesy of Rib’s and my clipping in a comment yesterday) re: Penner-Gagner-Hemsky:

    “It’s too early to tell right now,” said MacTavish, admitting it’s probably unrealistic to expect Gagner to fill the role on a full-time basis.

    “We always have the luxury, if he starts there, or if Horc starts there, whoever starts in that position (to change) based on the game and what the need is within that game.”

    To me that sounds like Gagnerwill continue to audition there. And that if Gagner goes deep into camp, or gets a 9-game tryout, or makes the team — that MacT will be willing to use creative “situational-matchup” lines in order to get him the shelter required.

    Which is how he successfully brought Hemsky and many other rookies into his lineup.

  7. godot10 says:

    Moreau, Horcoff, Brodziak…

    …looks MacT is definitely considering keeping Gagner around if he is experimenting with that combo, if only for nine games.

    Moreau, Horcoff, Brodziak
    Torres, Stoll, Nilsson
    Penner, Gagner, Hemsky
    Sanderson, Reasoner, Thoreson
    Pouliot, Stortini

    It is sort of pointless sending Pouliot down. You have to keep him up if only to showcase him for a trade.

    Cogliano and Schremp would benefit more from AHL time. They should let JFJ start in the AHL this year, and let him dominate there. He is too young to give up on yet.

  8. Dennis says:

    GD10 seems to have pretty much nailed it, IMO. I’d go as far to say that Gagner or Cogs is showing for the soft min gig between Pen-Sky but that might be shelved if MacT wants to bump up Reasoner into the top nine on a 18-19-Brodziak line and that moves Horc up with PenSky and allows Pouliot to play 4th line centre with Sanderson-Thor.

    I really don’t know what’s going on with Pouliot other than the fact that someone’s pissed at him internally. The first big clue is that camp opens and one of the talking points is that Nilsson’s in great shape and it’s his job to lose alongside 14-16. So how the hell does this happen? RN and MP are from the same draft class but MP actually played meaningful games and minutes in the NHL in ’07, moreso than Nilsson did. Yet, that’s his job to lose and MP is playing in camp with kids and nobodies.

    Something’s gone awry somewhere because based on how Pouliot played last year, if you were moving him to the wing, I’d have him penciled in on a tough min line with some of Moreau, Reasoner and Horc.

    How we got there there to here is a story that hasn’t been fully told.

  9. Rod says:

    Perhaps MP’s association with the final 20 games last season isn’t seen in a positive light. Could “meaningful minutes” in such an awful stretch stain the player? Did they expect something from him during that stretch that didn’t happen? I dunno, just guessing here.

    As for how RN was initially slotted beside 14-16, I think that boils down to the fact RN is the more skilled player. Another factor could be Nilsson’s production with NYI in 2005/06:
    20 points in 53 games
    11 in 46 for Pouliot last year.

    I too thought MP would end up on a tough minutes line. Perhaps you’re right that there’s more to the story.

  10. oilerdiehard says:

    I’ve been saying this since last year that he seems to be a habitually slow starter.

    I do not know what it is but every year he comes out flat, hits his stride by the quarter mark or so does not look back. I thought maybe this increased training regiment (plus not coming off an injury / ailment as in the past) would get him going earlier but so far same old story.

    If that is the case he cannot keep working off the doldrums in the minors every year. Here is to hoping he really steps it up and soon. I think he will but hurry up kid.

  11. oilerdiehard says:

    Hey Mystery Meat just scored! Atta boy!

    An unassisted marker on that scrub Kipper.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Good goal for Pouliot. Sounds like a little hustle, a little skill and a breakaway.

    Three more, please.

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