Edmonton Journal article today had some interesting quotes from coach MacT on Marc Pouliot. Reading the tea leaves, it may be awhile before the young forward returns to the NHL. Coach MacTavish was quoted in the Jim Matheson article as saying “he gets caught trying to make offensive plays that aren’t working, then he doesn’t have the quickness to get back. He can’t chase the puck back because he doesn’t skate great.”
Based on Pouliot’s resume he should have grabbed the job by now. He scored well as a 17-year old and blossomed in junior after that whenever healthy. His minor league seasons were quality (he was his AHL team’s MVP and his 20-year old AHL season implied his offense at 21 would be similar to Jarret Stoll’s, according to Desjardins’ NHLE) and he showed flashes before this season in his NHL play.
Injuries have been a factor, and his move at the beginning of training camp (to make way for Cogliano and as it turned out Gagner) to right-wing had their own impact. But when the coach says (again from the Matheson article) “maybe we’re wrong to play him as a role guy on the fourth line, so you give him some power-play time — but he doesn’t have any goals or any assists. He could make a play at times, but you have to have some offence” it’s pretty hard to make an argument against that statement based on the current situation and quality of play.
I think Pouliot will have an NHL career and he is a solid option for this Oilers team. He needed to be better though, and his inconsistency may have cost him his chance to prove himself NHL worthy. With the Edmonton Oilers.