Arrivé

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%

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18 Responses to "Arrivé"

  1. Black Dog says:

    I think he’s finally here and its good to see. I saw your lineup two posts below LT and it sussed out with Horcoff, Cogliano, Brodziak and Pouliot as the centres with Reasoner as an extra iirc.

    I could live with that. From what I have seen the last few weeks he has the size, the sense and the skating to play at this level. He may never score twenty goals but put him with a couple of guys who can play (Torres/Pisani) and I think you could have a nice line at evens that could chip in now and then.

    Good to see and one wonders if they bet on Jacques one last time next year with MP’s recent success in mind – if they move Raffi and then Ethan goes down (unlikely I know but … ;)) then there is a spot on the left wing.

    Nothing like your career on the line ot get you motivated.

  2. Ducey says:

    He had better not take the summer off like he did last year. If the trainers start raving about his fitness in training camp, we will know he has made it.

  3. namflashback says:

    Unsure why Phaneuf hates him so much — tried to take his head off again last night, good tuck and roll by MP to avoid serious damage.

    He did manage to avoid a penalty against the Flames that he probably deserved, but the refs were definitely pretty damn lenient on a number of potential stick infractions. There was a lot more water-skiing going on last night.

    He does give them a pretty nice option — particularly in a direct comparo to Stoll.

    Play 10 PVP.
    78 versus the second toughest.
    89 versus the soft
    51 to clean-up.

  4. dave says:

    I think he will reach Dan Cleary status quicker than Cleary. Solid play aside, he shoots the puck alot.

  5. Dennis says:

    http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?service=page&page=PlayerDetail&playerId=8470615&tab=gbgt

    There’s a look at MP’s game-by-game stats and because we know he was on the ice for an ENGF in Phx — he assisted on it — we can tell that he’s been +4 in real plus/minus in the 13 games since his recall. So, obviously, that’s not shabby at all. And I’m not sure what his GF and GA/60 have been or what kind of comp he’s been playing but he’s been with 19-34 for a few games now so even though MacT doesn’t match his lines as hard as he used to, I’d imagine 78 isn’t playing soft opp since that new assignment. He also hasn’t been racking up any points on the PP because after an initial shot rounding out the 12-13 2nd PP unit, MacT’s now gone to fleshing out that troika with Pisani.

    Note: I’d rather MacT went back to using 78 because I liked the presence he gave us in front of the net, plus then we could save 34 for the ultra-important first-shift-after-the-PP-expires.

    If we use the 10 min mark as a TOI cut-off point, 78 played over 10 min during the first four games of this current run but has only eclipsed that mark twice in the last nine games — though in the interest of full disclosure he has been in the 9 min territory in four other starts.

    It seems like he’s looked his best when playing with 34 and I think that’s because he’s trying to keep the game simple and 34′s cycle-centric approach suits that perfectly. That’s not to say that 78 lacks skill but I think we’re looking at him building from the ground-floor up and we could see 15-20 goals from him next year depending on how many min he gets. Right now you can see he’s come a long way from his first game in Colu because he’s starting to look to carry the puck in the open ice and he’s totally comfortable working down low. Last night he even started the cycle and slipped out to the high slot so little by little he’s starting to think offense. Outside of his defensive awareness, what’s been the most newly-impressive to me is his willingness to dish out and take hits. Both Phaneuf and Erikkson flattened him last night and he didn’t show any shrinking violet tendancies.

    Going forward, and touching on something NFB alluded to, I see 51 getting the checking slot centre job alongside 34 plus 14 or 18. Of course this presumes that 16′s out the door and even though I’m on the record as saying he’ll bounce back, I really don’t want to pay him over 2 mill to kill penalties and win faceoffs. We’ve got to get some use out of Souray and Gilbert looks like he could rack up ~50 points playing on the first unit of the PP so I think Stoll’s making so much money as to have out-lived his purpose.

    One thing I’d like to see in ’09 is MacT using 78 to kill penalties and that’s going to have to be the case if both 16-19 are done. If we move out all the guys some of us have targeted — fellows like 16, 18,19, — we’re left with building a PK unit around three guys: 10-34-51. This would almost assuredly usher 78 into the mix and maybe we’ll no longer have the personnel to do so but I’d really like to see us go back to using six guys on the PK and utilizing the down-ice pressure.

    89′s as smart as fuck so maybe we do this:

    10-78: 78 breaks in with the vet
    34-51: These guys are killing penalties together right now
    13-89: They come out for the last few seconds or so and will be a threat to score and then we’ll roll out the 27-10-83 line as soon as the penalty expires.

    Anyway, I’m not sold that 78′s done enough in the brass’s eyes to earn a job for next year but I think he’s done enough to earn an NHL job and I think it should be with the Oilers. There’s enough skill — 10-83-12-13-89 — and money –27 — that there’s no shame in 78 not being able to make his paper on the top six but it wouldn’t shock me if he turned out to be like Reasoner circa ’03.

    We’re looking at a ~50 game segment from ’07 and now a 13 game segment from ’08 that shows the same thing: you don’t have a lot of GA when this kid’s on the ice. I think the only thing holding more fans back from liking him is the draft class from whence he came.

  6. Mr DeBakey says:

    He had a good game last night.

    His ratio of minutes played to highlight reel seconds was very good.

    Maybe the best on the team.

  7. Simon says:

    Good for Pouliot. The Pendergast draft era starts to look pretty good with MAP’s coming out.

  8. namflashback says:

    Dennis,

    I think they do re-sign Stoll, mostly because its too early to bet on any of the young C’s. Not knowing what the room is like — its hard to tell whether or not Marty or Jarrett are the better choice for the “mentor.”

    I think Stoll is within the “age range” they want, and its too early to make the choice — so I would team-initiate arbitration, and drop him down to say 1.25M per year on a 1 year or 2 year. That way, he is clear of the books for the Horcoff extension, and his contract won’t be an albatross to move if he doesn’t bounce back.

    Stop giving him the sweet PP#1 time .

    I’m wary of relying on any 20GP stretch to evaluate what I’m seeing on the ice:

    1- that goes for MP, from whom we’ve seen promise before
    2- for Stoll, whose 20GP in the middle of 06-07 looked like the complete player we wanted, and horrendously ended by Pahlsson

  9. Black Dog says:

    I think the minute they get Horc on an extension then Stoll is a goner. If talks do not go well this summer then Stoll sticks around.

  10. Bruce says:

    I’m not sure what his GF and GA/60

    Dennis: When MP went down those rates were +0.00 / -4.83, they stayed that way for months so I memorized them. Now they stand at a much more reasonable +2.56 / -3.13. I haven’t got his exact TOI and there’d be a tiny bit of special teams time, but he’s stuck pretty close to 10:00 per game all year, so since his recall and excluding that empty-netter he would be somewhere around +3.6 / -1.8 per 60 which is very nice.

    Looking at his season splits:

    Before: 9 GP, 0-0-0, -7 (+0/-7)
    ————————————
    After: 13 GP, 1-5-6, +5 (+9/-4)

    Two different players. I guess those who were pushing for his recall a while before it actually happened may have been right, OTOH Oilers’ decision to give him several months of primo ice in SF wasn’t wrong. It was essential that he be all-the-way ready for the recall, and it appears that he was. Props to the young man for his recovery from a disastrous opening month, to my view at this point he’s a keeper.

  11. Coach pb9617 says:

    I think Stoll is within the “age range” they want, and its too early to make the choice — so I would team-initiate arbitration, and drop him down to say 1.25M per year on a 1 year or 2 year.

    There’s no way this is happening. The best option is trying to shop him east to Boston, Pittsburgh or Philly. Pittsburgh can’t win a faceoff to save their lives, Boston is okay at the top, but their bottom C’s are awful on the dot.

    Assuming Philly trades Carter, they’ll need another C.

    And when they do, go get Adam Oates in for the off-season to work Pouliot and Brodziak. Resigning Reasoner would help with that too.

  12. Bruce says:

    go get Adam Oates in for the off-season to work Pouliot and Brodziak.

    … and with Cogliano and Gagner, both of whom are languishing around 40% in ~500 and ~300 faceoffs respectively. I’m confident that will improve with time, but it certainly needs to.

    As for getting Oates, I’ve always thought that MacT himself works with the centres on draws. Has he offloaded that?

    On the positive side, one guy who’s emerging as something of a faceoff specialist is Dustin Penner, 101-82 for 55.2%. That’s enough of a sample size to not be a fluke. Last night was the first time in 28 games where Penner didn’t take a faceoff, in the previous 27 he was 66% or better 14 times, and below 50% just 7 times. It is however, possible if not likely that a disproportionate number of those draws are on the PP when the odds are in his favour. But Dustin looks pretty strong in the circle, and has gotten better during the course of the season. He might be a nice option going forward.

  13. Asiaoil says:

    As someone who has liked MAP since his draft day – his progress has been frustrating to say the least. I’m still not 100% sure he’s arrived since we’ve been down this road twice already – but I’m hopeful.

    One thing is clear – the kid is a natural center and is not nearly as effective on the wing – and I think slotting him there in TC did nothing for his confidence. The other thing I like is his size which is notable up against our other centers – and if he put on another 10 lbs this summer and showed up cut he’d be set.

    The LT center lineup: Horcoff, Cogliano, MAP, Brodziak and Reasoner is also to my taste. Given injuries all of these guys would play at least 65 games and I want Marty back as a security blanket. Aside from the PP skills (limited as they are) what does Stoll give you that Marty does not? Reasoner can give you pretty much all the faceoff skills and PK ability that Stoll does at less than half the price. In fact we could likely sign all of MAP, Reasoner and Brodziak for what Stoll makes – and we need guys who can outperform their contracts.

    I know the stats guys will point out that Stoll has taken a large number of tough defensive zone faceoffs – true – but he’s also not particularly successful in this role and never has been. You get respect for hauling tough minutes only if you are good at it – Stoll isn’t and he’s the offensive black hole of Calcutta at ES. Trade him to TBL with Schremp or Greene at the draft to move up.

  14. Bruce says:

    I know the stats guys will point out that Stoll has taken a large number of tough defensive zone faceoffs – true – but he’s also not particularly successful in this role and never has been.

    In Denver, 2 of 8 in the defensive zone (inc. 0-fer-3 against Sakic, two of them with the game on the line). In Calgary, 1 of 5. I think we got lucky when Keenan insisted Stoll stay on the bench after the last minute icing last night. At least (he said cattily) Nilsson made a play at the end.

    Stoll did win 8 of 11 in the neutral zone in those two games, though. Big whoop.

  15. Dennis says:

    Bruce guesses 78′s GA/60 in his last 13 games is around 1.8 and Desjardin says it was 1.96 in 46 games last season.

    Like I said, it’s hard to score when this kid’s on the ice and that can’t be a coincidence, can it?

    AO: KP mentioned that the Oilers might’ve made a mistake not playing 78 at pivot during TC and it was something that LT and myself were on right off the bat. He’s not playing there now but a guy with that size and reach, it’s where I want to see him.

    Finally, watching 16 lose BTB draws to Sakic late on Friday night killed and later on I read something here that rang true: you had Hudson Bay rules going on when it came to obstruction.

    I thought the Avs could’ve been called for about four penalties on those two wins by Sakic and last night I saw the same thing from the Flames. Let’s be honest, here, McGeough and Co really put away the whistles last night and outside of Robert Nilsson, I don’t think that really bothered anyone;) But the obstruction on the faceffs was something-fucking-else.

  16. Asiaoil says:

    For me the issue at center next season is all about cap space and having a position where several guys could out-perform their contract. Let’s speculate on the following scenario:

    Reasoner: $1 million (resigned 1 year)
    Cogs: $850,000 (existing deal)
    MAP: $850,000 (resigned 2 years-1 way)
    Brodziak: $500,000 (existing deal)

    That leaves us with 4 centers signed for a grand total of $3.3 million which is damn nice and Horcoff is only making $3.6 million.

    Stoll at $2.3 or $2.5 million makes no sense as he doesn’t provide anything that the kids and Marty can’t do at ES, and that Souray and Gilbert can’t give us on the PP. In fact the PP would likely be better without Stoll’s mediocre passing and predictable slapshot.

  17. Bruce says:

    Bruce guesses 78′s GA/60 in his last 13 games is around 1.8 and Desjardin says it was 1.96 in 46 games last season.

    Got a better fix on those numbers and MP has played about 124 minutes at ES since his return, so the GA/60 is about 1.94. That’s about two significant digits more than I’m comfortable with in such a tiny sample size, but just round it off to 2 GA / 60 and that’s pretty damn good. It’s similar to last year’s rate and a hell of a lot better than the nearly 5 GA per 60 of October which Dennis would prefer we forget all about. And when you factor in the offence, the difference has gone from +0/-5 to +4/-2. Not sure I believe either set of numbers as truly indicative of MP’s play, but there’s no doubt he has improved dramatically and playing with 19 and 34 has probably helped too.

    I feel MP has shown enough on the recall to earn a contract offer. Hopefully he’ll trade a few $$$ for a one-way guarantee. I hope and expect he’s seen the last of the AHL, so it wouldn’t be that big of a gamble from Oilers’ perspective.

  18. Asiaoil says:

    This is a guy who could potentially out-perform a smaller 2 year contract by a substantial margin – and I hope that’s what the team offers.

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