It’s difficult to identify the exact moment when a first round pick passes from prospect to suspect. Some–like Ales Hemsky or Sam Gagner–soar early, all of their arrows taking flight. Others–like Andrew Cogliano or Jordan Eberle–progress in predictable, positive fashion and one gets the sense over time that they’ll eventually make the grade and have long NHL careers. Sometimes they take a long walk off a short pier–Jesse Niinimaki would be a recent example.
Marc Pouliot is none of those things. He belongs to the Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert family of prospects who endured difficult injury and saw their NHL careers threatened at an early age. In the case of both Ranger greats, the injuries were extremely difficult but they recovered and went on to become legends in the game.
For Marc Pouliot, that’s the dream to hold on to these days. He’s an injury prone forward who’ll miss another major portion of another season, and this time there are other options and he’s unproven to the man in charge. Marc Pouliot is looking professional extinction square in the eyes and the road back is far from certain. Better to invoke the names of Rod Gilbert and Jean Ratelle than to obsess about Henry Boucha or Pierre Mondou.