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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)