This is Marc Pouliot. He has some traction again as an NHL player (he must love spring) and may have done enough in the last 13 games since his callup (1-5-6, +5) to be considered in the mix for the big club next season. In his brief NHL career (76gp, 6-12-18) he has not established himself as an offensive option worthy of minutes on the skill lines but seems to have found a role on the 3/4 lines by doing the right things and playing a more physical game.
Pouliot has had a nice AHL career (this would have to be considered less than a compliment since these guys don’t want to have AHL careers) including being a very valuable rookie for Hamilton in 05-06. Here, let’s run his AHL seasons:
- 05-06 (age 20) 65gp, 15-30-45 -7 .692ppg
- 06-07 (age 21) 33gp, 14-17-31 -2 .939ppg
- 07-08 (age 22) 50gp, 20-22-42 -9 .840ppg
As a rookie pro he did some nice things. Pouliot was named Bulldogs MVP in a vote of his teammates and was also named Hamilton’s Top Rookie by the Bulldogs broadcast team. He finished 3rd on Bulldogs scoring list and was 2nd in assists & 7th in goals.
In 06-07 he played quite a bit in the NHL (over 500 EV minutes, a paltry 1.17/60 scoring at even strength) and showed flashes of ability. This season he made the club but didn’t do much with it and had another extended stay in AAA.
With Pouliot’s recent 13 games we have (barely) enough to compare this year at the NHL level with last season. Here are the raw numbers:
- 06-07: 46gp, 4-7-11 -2 EV/60: 1.17
- 07-08: 22gp 1-5-6 -2 EV/60 1.71
In last night’s vital game Pouliot got to play and performed well enough to get:
- 13 shifts, 3 in the first, 6 in the second, 4 in the third period.
- He had one shift fairly late in the game, ended with about 7 minutes left.
- He was +1.
- He played 8:53 minutes total, all at equal strength.
- He played easily the fewest minutes among the forwards.
- He was credited with 2 shots, 2 hits and 1 takeaway.
- He tripped a Flame on what I think was his final shift but didn’t get a penalty.
When discussing Pouliot, it’s always a good idea to post his (known) injury history:
- Injured at the Top Prospects game in 2003 when Dion Phaneuf leveled him with a vicious (and imo clean) check.
- In the summer of 2003 he got hurt at the Canadian WJC camp in Calgary (hip) and that had a major impact on his 18-year old season. It also hurt his performance at the Oilers rookie camp just two months after being drafted.
- In November 2003 he suffered an abdominal injury and missed the Q/Russia prospects game and he played on 42 QMJHL games that season, finally having surgery in Montreal in summer 2004 to repair the abdominal tissues.
- He played 3 weeks with a broken wrist during the 2003-04 season.
- Mono just before the Stanley run.
When in doubt about a prospect it’s always a good idea to go right back to pre-draft and see what they were saying. Notorious hard markers Redline Report had this to say:
Pouliot is considered a very good two way player. He pays attention to his own end of the ice which is surprising for a Quebec League player. He also played for a bad team in the Rimouski Oceanic. Scouts reportedly would only go to see him play and the assessment was a question: how much better could he have been if he had some wingers to play with? There also were some questions as to whether he was taking some nights off. Still, there are those who think he is an exceptional talent and could be a solid second line center in the NHL. Pouliot played for Team Canada at the recent WJC’s. He recorded only 2 goals, but had 9 points in 7 games. He scored 32 goals in his second year in the QMJHL last year. Look for him to increase those numbers next season.
At the NHL level for a full season now, he is showing signs of being that two way player Redline scouted in 2003. He lost some offense along the way and will need to carve out a career as a role player instead of a star (as most of the 2003 draft class will become).
It looks like Marc Pouliot is going to have an NHL career, but I’ve said that before. He has gotten his 500 at-bats in the NHL and now it’s up to him and the 30 NHL clubs.
FINAL GRADE: 75%