RE 09-10: Marc Pouliot

It looks as though the Edmonton Oilers organization believed in Marc Antoine Pouliot all along. Despite fits and starts and trips to the minors and benchings and healthy scratches, even the head coach admitted MAP was making progress as a player during MacT’s final exit interview (I’m going to miss his comments).

So far this summer the Oilers brass has been making noises about having Pouliot play center for an entire season and they cleared the decks by dealing Kyle Brodziak. It appears from this vantage point that his main competition for ice-time at center will be Gilbert Brule, and should the club actually move Andrew Cogliano to wing well #78 could find himself skating in the top 9 every night.

Is that how we should read this summer’s events? A ringing endorsement? Well, no.

I’m reminded of a quote from Kevin Prendergast in March of 2008 when he said “(Pouliot) played out of position [in the NHL], wasn’t comfortable and had a couple of bad games and put himself in the doghouse and rightfully so for the mistakes he made.I think we’d have to play him at center though and make the decision that we’d have to live with [his mistakes] for the short term. He just needs consistency; don’t be afraid to make mistakes because they’re going to happen but limit the mistakes.”

I think the organization has decided to do just that thing.

  • Boxcars: 63gp, 8-12-20, 23pims
  • Shots: 94
  • Plus Minus: +1
  • Corsi: -4.4
  • GF/GA ON: 25-26
  • 5×5/60: 1.67
  • 5×4/60: 1.90
  • Quality of Competition: dregs
  • Quality of Teammates: 3rd level
  • FO %: 48.3% in 211 sorties
  • 09-10 Cap Hit: $.825M (nhlnumbers.com)
  1. What do these numbers tell us? Pouliot’s numbers look pretty good across the board, although you’d hope they would considering the quality of competition he was facing every night. The boxcars are good 4line numbers, the plus minus is solid and the Corsi is a good number. His faceoff percentage is not horrible and I do wonder if he’ll end up taking Brodziak’s place in the dungeon that was own-zone draws for #51 a year ago (Brodziak took 112 more own-zone draws than offensive draws, while Pouliot was on for 4 more offensive than defensive draws a year ago). Their faceoff percentage is very close (Brodziak’s was 51.6 in 947 sorties) although Brodziak in my opinon had the better year.
  2. How could the numbers be better? Pouliot would have benefited from having better and more experienced linemates but he got a really nice chance this past season. He played with against about the same quality as Andrew Cogliano and had the identical Corsi and they were extremely close in 5×5/60.
  3. What about Injury? He missed a couple of games with a concussion in early January but that was it. After a laundry list of maladies since being drafted, it was a welcome change.
  4. What about accepting the Carbonneau role? Do you remember that comment by MacT a couple of years ago about MP balking at a role similar to Carbonneau’s? I think that’s kind of a tell about this player and suggests he may still dream of an offensive role. A new coach might be his best chance to prove it, although the evidence since he turned pro doesn’t suggest it.
  5. Why Pouliot instead of Brodziak? They were drafted the same season and I compared them to each other almost from the start but it seems to me that Brodziak was the player Minnesota asked after. When the draft day deal went down there were a lot of quotes from the Wild talking about how happy they were to acquire Brodziak. He played for new Wild head coach Todd Richards in Wilkes Barre but so did Pouliot. I think we can probably conclude the Oilers were looking at dumping a contract and Minnesota got the man they wanted for those draft picks.
  6. Will Quinn play him against tougher opposition? If we count Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano and Pouliot as the top 4 centermen currently, Pouliot is the second best faceoff option. He will probably face tougher competition this fall unless Edmonton makes a move.
  7. How important is Pouliot to this team? The role he might play this season is an important one but I’m not certain of Pouliot’s actual value to the team. At this point I imagine it’s a case of “we drafted him, he’s made some progress and he’s among the best options available.” That’s a mile from being a valuable part of the team, but should he grab the job we might have a different answer next summer.

Quick Facts

  • 07-08 5×5 per 60m: 1.55
  • 08-09 5×5 per 60m: 1.67
  • 07-08 5×4 per 60m: 6.43
  • 08-09 5×4 per 60m: 1.90

Predictions Past 2008-09

  • Predicted: 75gp, 7-19-26 (.347 per game)
  • Actual: 63gp, 8-12-20 (.317 per game)

Prediction for 2009-10: 70gp, 10-15-25 (.357 per game)

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29 Responses to "RE 09-10: Marc Pouliot"

  1. spOILer says:

    That 2007 5X4/60 musta been a small sample size for a guy we can usually call Mr. Low Event.

    But I'm not convinced Pouliot and Brule will get a role on this team–that Cogs will get moved to wing. There isn't even clear enough evidence that Pouliot is more deserving of the role other than face-offs.

    Nor am I conviced Pouliot can handle 2nd toughest minutes even with vet wingers, although he has historically bled very little. In fact, I'm surprised that Pouliot is the hill on which management wants this season to live or die. And he will be the crux if he's playing 3C.

  2. Lowetide says:

    spOILer: Which is the main reason I'm convinced the Oilers aren't done yet.

  3. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    LT:

    The Oilers have left that gaping hole open for going on to a year and a half and Tambellini failed to plug it

    With reference to Tambellini's last public statements in which he indicated pretty clearly they are done, what makes you think they aren't?

  4. spOILer says:

    I really hope they aren't too.

    As for Islander/Oiler comps, I know we hope Cogs can become Butch Goring (I actually think his offensive potential is greater than Robert's), but if Pouliot can grab some Rogaine and grow some hair on his chest and become Mr. Tenacity, John Tonelli, I'd be very very happy.

    But he's missing the "tough nickname", among other things.
    ;o)

  5. NormanMendoza says:

    FCM,

    There are a bunch of teams that would be improved if they added one of the options for vet 2ESTOI/3C out there.

    It appears that the GM's are finally realizing that the supply and demand is working in their favour.

    As it often is in a union arrangement, guys are losing jobs to the cheap young guys. Whether right or wrong, there are plenty of teams that are leaving the gap in their lineup.

  6. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    NormanMendoza said…

    There are a bunch of teams that would be improved if they added one of the options for vet 2ESTOI/3C out there.

    It appears that the GM's are finally realizing that the supply and demand is working in their favour.

    As it often is in a union arrangement, guys are losing jobs to the cheap young guys. Whether right or wrong, there are plenty of teams that are leaving the gap in their lineup."

    How many successful ones?

    Not one i that made the WC playoffs that I can think of.

  7. DBO says:

    If we are relying on Pouliot to play major tough minutes at 3C, we can expect to not be anywhere close to the playoffs. Why would we throw another young player to the wolves? It hasn't worked for 3 years, why would it be any different now? I like Pouliot at 4C, but right now we need a veteran 3C to take pressure off Horcoff and help the kids along. Come on evil genius tambellini, scoop up malhotra for cheap on a 1 year and I am happy with our moves this summer.

  8. quain says:

    Just bringing in the guy to take the bad zone draws isn't enough. You want to improve this team, you need to bring in guys who make it so we have less of these bad zone draws. I'm fine with Pouliot getting his shot, I'm not fine with the fact that we're running out the same exact team that got savaged territory-wise last year.

  9. hunter1909 says:

    Funny how all it takes is a little thing to separate a prospect who's going to make it in the NHL, and an also ran.

    Pouliot is too dumb to keep his freaking head up, and as a result is guaranteed to be on every headhunter's list.

    It's little things, like that.

  10. Schitzo says:

    On an unrelated note, apparently Pat Kane was charged with assaulting and robbing a cab driver. Huh.

  11. Black Gold says:

    …Over twenty cents no less.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Interesting. Pure speculation on my part but something isn't right here. Either we're not getting the story exactly as it went down or this is the stupidest person alive.

    At this point I'll wait for both sides of the story, as this story looks as though it's been framed a certain way.

  13. hunter1909 says:

    Pat Kane attacking some poor slob cab driver sounds even worse than Lindro's flashing a huge wad of money in the face of some poor waitress at a bar in the 90's.

    Sad to see how hockey stopped building character ever since their preciousness increased 1000 fold with their wages.

    I'd prefer them all to have summer jobs, or a farm, like Bob Baun from the Leafs used to have – he of playing in a game with a broken leg.

  14. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide: How many times do I have to tell you – this is the internet.

    Pat Kane must hang, whether guilty or innocent.

  15. Racki says:

    In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, Pouliot is like a box of chocolates. You never know which one you're going to get.

    I've been on the Pouliot hatewagon for a few years now, but last year he had a stretch of games where he looked brilliant offensively. But just before I could be convinced that I was wrong about him all along, he returns back to showing me why I disliked him in the first place. With a nickname like Poo, you probably can't expect miracles from him.

    Expendible, if a good faceoff option (i.e a Malhotra or Betts) comes along. But for now, he'll be fighting to show Quinn why he's on the roster.

  16. oil dude says:

    So after fantasizing for the last 6 weeks that Toni Rajala would become "our" Patrick Kane, I've read in less than 24 hours that Rajala was seriously injured after being tackled in practice… and Kane arrested after atacking/robbing a cab driver. Weird.

  17. Traktor says:

    Go Sledgehammer!

  18. Hockey Noob says:

    @DBO,

    Here's to hoping that happens… Malhotra's on most of our 'wish lists' for this particular summer. Jonathan Willis and Gabriel Desjardins both wrote some interesting articles recently on the importance of defensive zone faceoffs.

    @Racki,
    I have never seen you on anyone's hate wagon before. I agree that Pouliot's expendable–but that's just uggh my *20 cents, lol…

  19. Lowetide says:

    Traktor: THANK YOU!!!! I think it'll change his career. :-)

  20. knighttown says:

    Pouliot also possesses an underrated snap/wrist shot. Very Pisani-like with great accuracy and decent power. He could be a guy that carves out a role scoring 10 on the 4th line and as a #4 man in the shootout.

    Cheap? Check.
    Useful? Check.
    Replaceable? Check.

    He needs to realize that he's very unlikely to make the NHL as a scorer. The AHL has a number of guys that could score 40 points in the NHL but get slaughtered. However, if he can ever score 15/35 and do something more, whether its PK, faceoffs, shutdown etc. he can play on my team for the next ten years.

    We're really seeing a culture change in the NHL. These 1-dimensional scorers who score 50-60 points when given elite linemates is a catch 22. The counting numbers are comparable to some excellent players so they get paid well but good teams have figured out that the combination of big cap hit and weak "outscoring" is extremely undesireable. Some examples are Nilsson, Prospal, Huselius, Satan and Sykora.

  21. speeds says:

    No more dreams for 50 point seasons from Pouliot, LT?

  22. Lowetide says:

    speeds: I still believe he has excellent hands and is an exceptional passer. However, on a team with Gagner and Hemsky up front there are better options.

    He's made progress in the last year and a half but not a lot of it is on offense.

    I don't know, what do you think?

  23. speeds says:

    It's hard to say. As you mention, it seems like there's still potential there, but how does Pouliot compare to other options the coach will have come game 1. It will be interesting to see who gets a chance to play with who during training camp.

    Through the same age, he doesn't appear crazily dissimilar when compared statistically to Horcoff. That would be a good result.

  24. Lowetide says:

    A good point in regard to Horcoff. Earl Weaver always made kids throw out of the bullpen until they got a feel for things, maybe this is MacT's version of the bullpen (slow progress, trips to the minors and HS's).

    One thing that isn't good: he turned pro in 2005 and still isn't a guy they're sure can play a role.

  25. Bank Shot says:

    In the past I suggested that MAP would be passed on the depth chart by the up and coming centers and it happened alot sooner than everyone thought.

    He's been lucky to escape the ride out of town thus far, and is twice lucky again that the next wave (Nash,Kytnar,Hartikainen,Lander) is at least a couple of years away from taking his job.

    I think its probable that he ends his tenure as an Oiler at that point, as he doesn't have top six offence, and I believe he lacks the traits that the Oilers management covets in the third line role.

  26. Showerhead says:

    Now if only Edmonton could have packaged all of Pouliot, Brodziak, and O'Marra for that mythical real NHL player we've all wished they'll become. Funny thing is I like all of those guys but this is one of a long string of posts that continues to hammer at Edmonton's grotesque roster imbalance.

  27. Dennis says:

    LT: I think 78's offensive game has come around a little bit but I don't think he's as aware defensively as he used to be.

    But maybe that's a by-product of playing against tougher opp in '09 then he did in that late season audition of '08.

  28. Bruce says:

    Dennis: Poo's positioning is generally good but when it comes to awareness he is still too prone to brain-freezes. He made the single-worst line change in each of the last two seasons, both of which directly cost the Oilers valuable standings points. I would have thought he would have learned his lesson after the Filppula goal in '07 which earned him a four-month deportation to Springfield, but last year it happened again in Montreal for no apparent reason than it was late in the game and Marc simply lost his focus. Which for a four-year pro is simply not acceptable.

  29. Dennis says:

    Bruce: if I can go almost a full summer without talking about what a bunch of lemmings Kevin Lowe fans are, then you can forget a couple of line changes;)

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