Last Chance Texaco

You ran out of gas
Down the road a piece
Then the battery went dead
And now the cable wont reach
Its your last chance
To check under the hood
Last chance
She aint soundin too good
Your last chance
To trust the man with the star
You’ve found the last chance texaco
-Rickie Lee Jones

I sincerely hope there is a sense of urgency for Marc Pouliot today. He’s way behind his graduating class in terms of accomplishments and is running the risk of creating a huge hole in the Kevin Prendergast draft book.

I’ve written more about him than any other Oiler prospect since starting this blog and he is the one draft pick between Hemsky and Gagner I honestly felt was a lock. He’s a smart player, an exceptional passer, thinks the game well and has shown some things at the NHL level (notably spring 2006).

I was defending Pouliot years before the blog, much as I had done with Shawn Horcoff on the hfboards fall 2000-2002 when he was less Horcoff-and-Die and more ? and the Mysterians. I have all the facts going back to the draft. Here, let me show you:

Marc Antoine Pouliot
  • Central Scouting Bureau: #13NA
  • Redline Report: #40
  • McKeens: #30
  • The Hockey News: #14
  • Born in Quebec City, Quebec 5/22/85.
  • Pouliot is considered a very good two way player. (RLR)
  • He pays attention to his own end of the ice which is surprising for a Q player. (RLR)
  • He also played for a bad team in the Rimouski Oceanic. (RLR)
  • 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? (RLR)
  • There also were some questions as to whether he was taking some nights off. (RLR)
  • Still, there are those who think he is an exceptional talent and could be a solid second line center in the NHL. (RLR)
  • 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.

I have quotes. Here’s a good one from MacT at this fall’s training camp:

  • “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.”

I have comps! He’s a good comp for Jarret Stoll. See:

  • Age 17:Stoll 13-13-26 (.317) (jr)Pouliot 11-15-26 (.317) (jr)
  • Age 18:Stoll 16-26-42 (.512) (jr)Pouliot 14-18-32 (.390) (jr)
  • Age 19:Stoll 17-18-35 (.427) (jr)Pouliot 15-22-37 (.451) (jr)
  • Age 20:Stoll 11-18-29 (.354) (AHL)Pouliot 9-19-28 (.341) (AHL)
  • Age 21:Stoll NHL 68gp, 10-11-21 (.309)Pouliot NHL 46gp, 4-7-11 (.239)

I have their 21-year old NHL seasons broken down, like this:

  • Stoll ES points-per-60mins: 1.39Pouliot ES points-per-60mins: 1.17
  • Stoll PP points-per-60mins: 2.95Pouliot PP points-per-60mins: 1.11

I can tell you about his 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 (KP)
  • Mono just before the Stanley run.

One of the great joys of being a fan is watching these kids grow from pre-draft teenagers to young men with strong careers ahead of them. There’s a chance Pouliot doesn’t get another chance, if Sanderson’s back is better tomorrow night and they send him out (or if the Oilers claim Toby Petersen on waivers) Pouliot might not see the ice during this callup. However, if he does hit the ice I sure as hell hope he does it with vigor, abandon and some piss and vinegar.

Hit someone, block a shot with your face, race to the bench on the line changes, be the last guy at the post-game spread. Take out the shit bucket if you have to buddy, it’s the NHL!

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26 Responses to "Last Chance Texaco"

  1. Bruce says:

    The thing that jumped off the page at me from your excellent comps was that Stoll scored at the rate of 1.39 ESP/60 in his 21-year-old (rookie) season, more than double the rate of 0.67 ESP/60 he has produced in this his 25-year-old (“early prime”) season. That’s not a bump in the road, that’s the earth cracking open and swallowing him up.

  2. Black Dog says:

    Lets go Pouliot, lets go!!

    Lets go Pouliot, lets go!!

    Or its bye bye birdie.

  3. Stef says:

    hasn’t he been playing C while down in the AHL? If they really want this guy to succeed would it be in his best interest to play C in the NHL rather than replacing Sanderson’s LW duties?

  4. heed says:

    i got my fingers crossed for pouliot. i even have my wife crossing her abnormally long toes in hopes this will be bring him luck.

  5. Lowetide says:

    heed: lol. My wife is sick of hearing about Pouliot. When I told her he was getting called up she rolled her eyes and said something about leaving with the kids (I may have talked about him a bit since 2003).

    She was kidding, of course. Probably.

  6. godot10 says:

    Reasoner can play wing, Pouliot centre, with Pisani on the right side.

    Better yet. Please, pretty please MacT. Put Stoll back with Pisani and Reasoner, and give Pouliot his glory shot between Penner and Hemsky.

  7. Traktor says:

    If Mac has any sense he will play Pouliot between Penner and Hemsky.

    Who gives a shit of the kid can hold is own playing bottom 6. If bottom 6 is now his potential then Edmonton has already lost the bet and they should cut bait.

    Pouliot is going to cost us 1,000,000 next year and there will be better options to fill a bottom 6 role via UFA (Cooke, McAmmond) at the same cost.

    Play him with Hemsky and see if the kid can create and find open ice. Playing him 7 minutes in a checking role isn’t going to tell us anything.

    Reddox and O’marra are both better suited for bottom 6 anyways.

    When was the last time MacTavish called up his leading scorer in the AHL to play him in the top 6?

  8. DBO says:

    it would be very surprising to see mact play Pouliot on the top line. Woudl love to see it though, if only to bury Stoll on our 4th line (which at this point is Pisani and Reasoner based on production).

  9. Lowetide says:

    traktor: That’s the whole deal right there. Leaving aside any UFA’s this summer (Oilers lose Glencross, Sanderson, Reasoner and Rourke) the RFA’s are going to be a huge story:

    Forwards (07-08 Salary)
    1. Stoll (2.2M)
    2. Nilsson (.942M)
    3. Pouliot (.942M)
    4. Jacques (.650M)
    5. Stortini (.475M)

    Defense (07-08 Salary)
    1. Pitkanen (2.4M)
    2. Grebeshkov (.950M)
    3. Gilbert (.835M)

    1. Deslauriers (.502M)

    There’s the money but there’s also the roster spots. Pouliot has dug himself quite a hole imo.

  10. DBO says:

    isn’t Glencross an RFA?

  11. Lowetide says:

    dbo: I believe he is UFA.

  12. Asiaoil says:

    I’d actually give the kid a number of games with Hemsky and Penner to see what happens – not like he has ever really been given the keys to the car. With Horcoff out I think MAP is the closest thing we have to a replacement style-wise in any case. Stoll is an ES sinkhole, Gags and Cogs are too young, Brodziak and Sakic are pure bottom 6. What the hell – good luck kid.

  13. Traktor says:

    LT: There is no roster spots unless a vet like Stoll/Torres/Moreau is moved.

    The kid line
    Glenx/Brodz/Stortz (Glenx will be easy to ink. 800k-1M)

    Thats leaves Pisani/Moreau/Stoll/Torres/Pouliot/JFJ/Reddox/Schremp all battling it out for the final 3 spots and a PB spot. If Lowe can find a goal scorer via UFA that probably means Cogliano will center the 3rd line.

    I don’t see the open roster spots. Edmonton could end up cutting bait with Pouliot even if he looks good in a 15 game stint with Pisani and Reasoner.

    I think Edmonton would be wise to make sure that Pouliot can’t produce with offensive players like Hemsky or Gagner before the ship him in the summer because of a numbers game.

    Trading or not signing Pouliot without ever playing him with Hemsky would be like selling your granny’s antics at a garage sale for 5 bucks without looking to see if they were worth anything first.

    In a couple years we’ll see Pouliot appraised at 15k on the antic roadshow and be kicking ourselves that we gave him away for nothing.

  14. DBO says:

    NHL has Glencross as an RFA. hope that’s true, would hate to lose him. he is everyhting we hoped Torres would be, and seenms to have some skills. And he will take Moreau’s place in the next few years as a game changer and leader.

  15. heed says:

    i wouldn’t be surprised if pouliot gets his chance with the top line. stoll is not having success and hemsky / penner seem to only produce when he’s on the point for the pp rather than between them at es.

  16. Dennis says:

    I’d be shocked if 78 got the 27-83 gig but if he did and he didn’t create chances, then we would have a much better idea of just how much he wasn’t worth.

    I remember listening to an int with Buchy awhile back and he said Marc had been playing the tough min down in SF with all kinds of duties and there was no doubt he was an NHLer. Is Buchy that positive about everyone, ie we know he is about Reddox and Sesito, or was he saying it in case someone from another org was listening?

    Regarding who he’ll play with, chemistry’s a funny thing and I recall 78 really played well with Pisani and for some odd reason he played well with Stoll too. Last season he had a few good games with Pisani and there was one Fri night game in Det where he played well with the 19-34 tandem. Him and Stoll and Sykora wound up together for some odd reason during a game in the ’07 season in a home blowout to the Avs where MacT broke out the blender and I remember Stoll scored off one of those shifts. And I believe Pouliot wound up on 16′s wing again early this season during a game in Minny; I remarked that one because it was a night with a lot of ice for 78, over 14 min, and I thought he was gaining some confidence with the coach.

    Note: Just went and looked at his goals and one of them was a PS, another was scored off a pass from Hemsky, another while playing with Hemsky-Smyth and the other while playing with Syokra-Petersen.

    The thing about Marc is something is obviously missing here. He had a good second half to his rookie A season and Dogs coach Don Lever was signing his praises by the end of it. Then he puts up 31 points in 33 games in his second year before getting the call and he’s still covering the bet that he’s an NHLer. So he gets called up and finishes the year with the club.

    But something happened between last summer and this fall and something happens between the AHL and the NHL.

    He should have established himself by now.

  17. Bill Needle says:

    If you got a picture of Pouliot wearing a California Golden Seals jersey, I imagine it would be a bandwidth-buster.

  18. Lowetide says:

    bill needle: THAT was classic. :-)

    I like how we’re (as a group) way out in front on this callup. You do realize the guy might not even make the lineup right?

  19. HBomb says:

    LT: Yes, I know Petersen’s on waivers, but damn, I hope that was a sick joke about the Oilers picking him up.

    I’d be disgusted if we saw him back in Oiler silks, taking valuable icetime away from sommeone with actual talent/ability.

  20. jon k says:

    Glencross is a type VI UFA if he doesn’t play 71 or more games this season, so he’s going to be essentially an UFA. Same deal as with Winchester last year.

    He’s a tweener still at this point of his career, or at least he could likely be easily convinced of such. Since he’s also an Oiler fan, it probably shouldn’t be too difficult to re-sign him to at least a 1 year contract.

  21. Jonathan says:

    I remain constantly amazed at this attitude that Pouliot needs to be put with top-calibre linemates to show something.

    By all accounts, Pouliot is a two-way player who has the ability to succeed in a bottom-6 role – an easier spot than a top-6 role. If he isn’t showing his ability in that position, what makes everyone think his dormant offensive ability will reappear playing with stars?

    //Who gives a shit of the kid can hold is own playing bottom 6. If bottom 6 is now his potential then Edmonton has already lost the bet and they should cut bait.//

    Guys like Pouliot occasionally become top-6 players, but at this point in time it seems clear that the likely career projection for MAP is 3rd line centre.

    The only possible rationale I can see for giving Pouliot a plum job like sitting between Penner and Hemsky is to inflate his counting stats so you can sucker someone into giving you a 3rd rounder for him at this years draft.

  22. dawgbone says:

    Jonathan: Part of the issue is that Pouliot has never really had good linemates for an extended time in the NHL.

    He’s gotten a few shifts with guys like Pisani and that, but he was saddled big time with Jacques last year.

    The kid has produced everywhere he has played, so this isn’t like the Jani Rita banter from a couple of seasons ago.

    The good news is that if he plays, he’ll play with someone decent. The 4th line is set in stone and Mac-T won’t play him with the kids (who have been doing rather well lately), so he’ll either play with Pisani or with Hemmer.

  23. doritogrande says:

    Jonathan: I think it stems from the fact that he was riding shotgun with Crosby in Rimouski. He’s kind of used to playing with talent. It’d be nice to see if he can ride coattails again and make something happen. Lord knows Stoll ain’t cutting it.

  24. Traktor says:

    Jonathan: Is Pouliot going to be a better option in a bottom 6 role over proven vets like McAmmond or Matt Cooke?

    It’s one thing if Pouliot has shown that he has some offensive game when playing with solid players like Hemsky, then you can find room for him because he has potential to be better than a checker. But if Pouliot’s potential is bottom 6 anyways, doesn’t it make more sense to get a proven bottom 6 player? It’s going to cost you the same anyways. 800k-1.2M

    Play him with Hemsky and Penner and see if you have something to work with besides a bottom 6 mucker.

    It’s not like Marty Sakic or EV black hole Stoll are tearing the doors off playing with Hemsky.

    If Edmonton brass doesn’t have Pouliot between Hemsky and Penner tonight it will prove to be another case of bad asset management, IMO.

  25. Gnash says:

    LINEUP UPDATE (11:45 AM): Mathieu Garon gets his 13th consecutive start tonight… Geoff Sanderson pronounced himself ready to go after missing practice yesterday with a sore back, meaning Marc Pouliot will likely be dispatched to Springfield prior to game time.

  26. Jonathan says:

    //Jonathan: Is Pouliot going to be a better option in a bottom 6 role over proven vets like McAmmond or Matt Cooke?//

    No, he isn’t. Like I said, the only reason I can see for playing him with Penner/Hemsky is if you’re pumping up his stats to deal him at the draft- which probably isn’t a bad idea.

    //Jonathan: I think it stems from the fact that he was riding shotgun with Crosby in Rimouski. He’s kind of used to playing with talent.//

    Well, he’s playing top-line and 1st unit pp time in the AHL, and until just recently his numbers weren’t much to look at. He’s a 22-year old two-way player who’s struggling to hit the 1PPG mark in the AHL. Over the past few seasons, his numbers don’t scream “scoring potential!” Like I said though, pumping up his stats probably isn’t a bad idea, so that you can sucker some team (NYR?) into trading more than he’s worth.

    Plus, his first two seasons in Rimouski he was carrying the offense on a bad team, so he should be used to having sub-par support.

    //It’s not like Marty Sakic or EV black hole Stoll are tearing the doors off playing with Hemsky.//

    Very true, but why would Pouliot be any better? To put things in perspective, in his 22-year old season, Toby Petersen outscored Pouliot. I’ll repeat that name: Toby Petersen. He put up 67pts in 73 AHL games, and 8 points in 12 NHL games in 2000-01.

    Aside from one season, in junior, playing with Crosby (where he was outscored in fewer games by fellow 1985-er and present ECHL’er Dany Roussin) Pouliot has never had an elite offensive season.

    There was never any reason to believe he’d be more than a 2nd-line centre, and now there’s no reason to believe he’ll ever be a top-6 forward. He needs to make it as a mucker, or not at all.

    Therefore, what I would do is dump him at the draft for whatever you can get. If you want him to see some time on the top line first, with an eye to improving his trade value, fine. But his last few seasons have almost definitively proven he does not have elite, or even top-6 scoring potential at the NHL level.

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