Catch 22

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.

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25 Responses to "Catch 22"

  1. Dennis says:

    Fernie’s nowhere close, Moreau seems to be at least a month away, Stortini is garbage and Nilsson is soft.

    All Pouliot has to do is go a PPG for say the first five or six games in SF and he’ll be back. You know how much they like him considering how long it took before he punching a ticket on the Mass. Transit. This isn’t a guy they’re gonna mothball and it’s not a guy they CAN mothball given the list of happenstance that I’ve posted above.

  2. Dcfung says:

    Every time another ‘tweener shuffles onto the bus from Edmonton to Springfield, I just want to scream THORESEN.

  3. Bank Shot says:

    I wish he was Kesler.

    The Oilers could really use a solid bottom six center about now.

    Reasoner is still done, Stoll’s eggs are scrambled, Cogliano and Brodziak needs some serious seasoning before they can be relied upon in all situations.

    Hopefully Pouliot reads the writing on the wall that there is really only a spot for a checking line center and learn to do some serious ass busting, and mucking.

    He seems to be a tweener. Needs to reinvent himself and then hope for the offensive season somewhere down the road.

  4. Lowetide says:

    I hate like hell to complain about his situation because it’s clearly mostly about performance.

    However, he had success in the NHL as a center. Right? We remember those games where he played well and seemed to be finding his way?

    I don’t think the Oilers are so set at center that Pouliot needed to be placed on the wing without a fight.

    Horcoff-Stoll-Reasoner-Cogliano is the current center group with Gagner moving over to wing (and sometimes Cogliano). Is that correct?

    I think Pouliot could use some of those minutes and be effective. A little from Stoll, some from Reasoner and a few from the kid. Maybe Cogliano heads to LW on the nights the other 4 play.

    Either way, I am going to disagree slightly with Dennis. While it is agreed Pouliot should be back if he shoots lights out, it’s also possible he’ll be dealt for something more immediate.

  5. goldenchild says:

    I still don’t see how the other options are better. 13 and 89 yes but who else? 51 looks like he could join the shuttle soon and I still think MP’s future is brighter. After that name a player that is going to help this team more?
    I agree with Dennis, a strong couple of weeks and MP should be able to find a spot back in the lineup, I also agree his spot shoud be at center.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Lowetide:
    The problem with trying to deal Pouliot is that the worst teams in the league are at most 5 points out of a playoff spot. With the possible exception of Phoenix, nobody’s selling at this point, so our collection of shiny, second-tier youngsters probably isn’t much of a bargaining chip at this point. If we’re trading for established talent, we probably have to trade established talent, and the only position where we might be selling at this point would be in net, although even that seems unlikely.
    On the other hand, this team has a chance to be the only last-place buyer in trade deadline history, given that even if we’re in 30th, there’s not a lot of point in not getting better.

  7. Big T says:

    Don’t forget about Philly last year grabbing Biron at the deadline jonathan.

    T

  8. Jonathan says:

    big t: thanks, I did forget about that. I’m sure there’s more examples too, although it’s the exception to the rule.

  9. Dennis says:

    Well, we’re pretty tight to the cap so even if we we’re willing to take on a higher salaried player that some other club was looking to jettison, it wouldn’t be an easy fit.

    I think there’s something to what LT was saying about 78 looking his best in the pivot spot. What were his faceoff stats like last year? I wouldn’t imagine he took many own zone draws but what were his numbers in that area? Would that be a hint as to why he was all of a sudden moved to wing? Or maybe it’s as simple as 13-89 coming along and the Oilers deciding that would be their future down the middle.

    19′s a guy you’d get something for at the deadline but I don’t know if the Oilers are ready to cut the chord on him and especially not for the benefit of 78.

    In any case, a kid like Brodz hasn’t done much since the first two games of the season and Sanderson isn’t chipping in much so, yes, if Pouliot does his work on the farm, why wouldn’t he get called up?

    The other thing is that when saying Lowe will make a trade, he seldom does. And when he does decide to barter, it doesn’t end up all that well for us.

    At least not since July of ’06.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Dennis: Pouliot won 48.7% of his draws in 2005-06, not awful, but behind Stoll/Horcoff/Reasoner/Brodziak/Sykora/Nedved. Also, given what the Oilers depth at centre looks like, if Pouliot can’t adapt to playing wing, I don’t think he’ll ever play regularly for this team. I think you’re bang on when you suggest the Oilers simply decided Cogs/Gagner was the future up the middle.

  11. vb says:

    This must be the first time in Oiler history where a player’s career is derailed by mono. I swear in ’06 if he didn’t get ill he would’ve been our 4th line C instead of Rem Murray.

    If that happens, I wonder where he would be on the development chart now?

  12. Dennis says:

    Well, it’s easy to say that the future will be Horc playing the toughest min, Cogs playing second fiddle tough min and then Gagner taking on the soft. My only questions with that is if Gagner can ever win enough faceoffs to really qualify as a centre and/or will Cogs wind up being more of a winger than centre? I like everything about Cogs early on and I’m hoping he works on his defensive play and faceoff skills enough to be the complimentry tough min pivot behind Horc.

    But, if these kids can play at pivot, I think these are two of our three future centres and the other one will be either Horc of Stoll.

    In the meantime, I am absolutely shocked that pouliot isn’t playing everyday given:

    A: some of the guys who are playing or have played over him

    B: how he fared last year when he actually had some pretty good games.

    I’m not sure how much of it can be attributed to him being a headcase, not in the best shape of the Oilers simply falling more in love with 13-89, but, to me anyway, it’s a headscratcher at the very least.

    BTW, MacT has gotten into a mode of really calling them as he sees them. He came clean yesterday on what he thinks of JFJ and MP and today he basically told Tarnstrom what he thinks of him too.

  13. Jonathan says:

    “MacT has gotten into a mode of really calling them as he sees them”

    Prior to last night’s game, MacT said in reference to Bryan Young: “We’re just looking for Bryan to play about 13 flawless minutes. Like we do to most of our young players, we’ll let his play dictate the responsibility and as long as he’s handling it, we’ll throw more at him.
    “But we’re looking for 13 good physical defensive minutes.” Given that Young played just under 4 minutes, was MacT BS’ing or was he dissatisfied with Young’s play?

  14. Bank Shot says:

    A guy like Brodziak hasn’t been doing much offensively since the first couple of games, but he hasn’t been making any blunders defensively either.

    He also gets the puck deep on offense, and is as hard as a coffin nail along the boards in his own zone. I’ve seen more then a few occasions where he’s been waiting for the puck to get rimmed around the boards with a D-man charging in and he still gets it out.

    I’m not sure Pouliot is really a better option for Brodziak’s minutes.

    My only questions with that is if Gagner can ever win enough faceoffs to really qualify as a centre and/or will Cogs wind up being more of a winger than centre?

    I think Gagner is actually decent at faceoffs, and Cogliano is the one that is hot garbage on the dot.

  15. Mr DeBakey says:

    I think the Young comment – 13 perfect minutes – were MacT kidding with his friends in the 4th & 5th estates.

    Meanwhile, Tarnstrom is “a fifth or sixth defenceman who’s a second power-play unit guy.”

    Here’s what Prendergast said in August in reference to Tjarnqvist:

    “Early last year, we thought he’d be a good replacement for us,” said Kevin Prendergast, Oilers vice-president of hockey operations.
    “But Daniel was hurt a lot. We never felt he was a better player than (Dick) Tarnstrom, who had left us (to play in Europe). When he became available again, we forgot about Daniel.

    Sometimes its hard to follow the bouncing ball with these guys.

  16. Slipper says:

    You know at this point I don’t think many of these guys are going to turn out to be effective NHL players. It’s not enough anymore for flashes of brilliance and a good three game stretch out of 20.

    Atleast the hockey forums won’t complain about young players getting their shot anymore. Oh wait, yes they will.

    I don’t what else MacT could do anymore to satisfy that crowd, other than cutting the brake line to Hemsky and Horcoffs SUVs.

  17. Ribs says:

    Out of the giant mound of supposed centers the Oilers have in their current crop of prospects, Pouliot looks like the only one who can really play the position.

    Trading him away now would surely be a waste.

    I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from Poo as the season continues.

  18. Pleasure Motors says:

    In the meantime, I am absolutely shocked that pouliot isn’t playing everyday given:

    A: some of the guys who are playing or have played over him

    B: how he fared last year when he actually had some pretty good games.

    Pouliot has been atrocious this year. We can talk about other players’ deficiencies all we want, and I don’t necessarily disagree, but the fact is, pretty much no one other than Rob Schremp and maybe Zack Stortini has had worse results while playing forward for the Oilers this season (and it’s not like he’s been playing tough minutes, either: -0.23 quality of comp, according to Desjardins, easier than anyone except Schremp).

    Last year he deserved to be up here, this year he deserves to be in the minors. I hope he can turn it around, but to say that he should be playing everyday at this point is a little bit ridiculous.

  19. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Out of the giant mound of supposed centers the Oilers have in their current crop of prospects, Pouliot looks like the only one who can really play the position.

    Then this team is in real, real trouble.

  20. Dennis says:

    Well, PM, I honestly don’t think it’s that outlandish. I cited a play from last Fri where 78 didn’t take the puck to the net while 13 did, so in that flash, you saw the difference. But, tthe thing we really don’t know, is why didn’t Pouliot get more love right off the bat, ie camp? From the earliest of skates, the blogs were talking about how he was playing with nobodies.

    That might be the awnser to why he never got it going. There aren’t too many guys who are going to make things happen when put on a line with two other guys who are trying to make their way as well.

  21. Dennis says:

    But, PM, allow me to say this, or at least opine it;)

    - Stortini should never play while Pouliot sits. Is Marc having a bad start to the season? Fucking rights. But considering what he’s done in the minors and considering what he did last year, his upside is greater and the chances of him helping this team whenever they’re fit to watch again, and who knows when that will be, are much greater than that of Stortini. And the same goes for Jacques. Neither of those guys should ever play over Pouliot.

  22. Pleasure Motors says:

    I think Jacques and Pouliot have been about on par this year. Maybe Pouliot has “proved more,” but not enough (11 points in 46 games against roughly average competition last year) to guarantee a spot when he’s playing that poorly. Besides, as has been pointed out, he’s played here much longer than anyone else who’s been sent to the ‘Topes.

    That said, I agree with you fully on Stortini. Virtually everyone in the Oilers system should be dressing before him, though.

    As for the bad linemates thing, you might have something there, although it’s worth pointing out that Jacques has played with people just as bad, and Schremp, Stortini and Cogliano (!!) significantly worse.

    Anyway, long story short, I think Pouliot earned his trip to the minors on his own merits, or lack thereof. It hurts, I know, but it’s true.

  23. Dennis says:

    I’m not saying that Pouliot is gonna be Sandy Koufax, because he obviously won’t be, but it took awhile before Sandy Koufax as Sandy Koufax.

    I just hope the Oilers know what they’re doing with Pouliot. We’re not carrying any extra forwards right now and Stortini is one of the guys drawing a shift. Two games this weekend for 78 in SF and if he’s playing well, he should be back for two Thurs time vs the Canucks or the Oilers are silly fuckers.

  24. Pleasure Motors says:

    We’re not carrying any extra forwards right now and Stortini is one of the guys drawing a shift.

    Good lord, what the hell are we doing?

  25. Bruce says:

    We’re not carrying any extra forwards right now and Stortini is one of the guys drawing a shift.

    Good lord, what the hell are we doing?

    Losing. And it’s not hard to see why.

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