Have you ever had a conversation with an Oilers fan about Benoit Pouliot? A lot of people who go watch this team are not enamored with him. Me? I think he is a helluva winger, an actual NHL player and someone fans should hope is around opening night. Benoit Pouliot is good. Honest. (Better Off As We Are).
BENOIT POULIOT 13-14
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.79 (6th among regular NYR forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 3.10 (8th among regular NYR forwards)
- Qual Comp: 10th toughest among regular forwards (3rd line opp)
- Qual Team: 10th best teammates among regular forwards (3line linemates)
- Corsi Rel: 7.3 (4th best among regular forwards)
- Corsi for % 5×5: 55.1
- Corsi for % Rel 5×5: +3.4
- Zone Start: 57.8% (6th easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 51.7% (3rd best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 141/10.64%
- Boxcars: 80GP, 15-21-36 (.45 point-per-game)
BENOIT POULIOT 14-15
- 5×5 points per 60: 2.04 (2nd among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 3.62 (4th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 3rd toughest among regular forwards (1st line opp)
- Qual Team: 4th best teammates among regular forwards (2line linemates)
- Corsi Rel: 6.6
- Corsi for % 5×5: 50.4
- Zone Start: 61.0%
- Zone Finish: 54.6%
- Shots on goal/percentage: 105/18.1%
- Boxcars: 58GP, 19-15-34 .586
BENOIT POULIOT 15-16
- 5×5 points per 60: 2.05 (4th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 3.75 (6th among regular forwards)
- Corsi for % 5×5: 51.0
- Qual Comp: 6th toughest among regular forwards (2nd line opp)
- Qual Team: 5th best teammates among regular forwards (2nd line linemates)
- Corsi Rel: 7.9
- Shots on goal/percentage: 109/12.8%
- Boxcars: 55GP, 14-22-36
WAR ON ICE PLAYER CHARTS
Pouliot is in with the entire group we are discussing early this year. The good forwards played the toughest opposition, received good blue bubbles (mostly) and posted offense around 2.00 per 60 at 5×5. The forwards are good.
RE 15-16: 65GP, 17-23-40 .615
ACTUAL 15-16: 55GP, 14-22-36 .655
- Why don’t people like him? The contract, the offensive zone penalties.
- Does he take a lot more than he draws? No. He took 14 penalties, drew 12. He also had 26 takeaways, and a lot of those were in the offensive zone (by my memory).
- Who led in takeaways? Hall. He had 60. Lordy.
- People sure don’t like him. Meh. Pouliot is a good, veteran NHL player. Whatever else that bothers people about him probably isn’t going to help us learn more about the game and how he helps teams win. And they have with Pouliot, Edmonton will too.
- What is he? He’s a throwback, a lot of his game would fit right into the olden days. He’s a more complete player than he was as a kid and yet you can also see why the Wild took him No. 4 overall. He’s big and fast—and good! Edmonton hasn’t had many of those men in their prime in the last many years.
- What do you like about him? Aside from legit skill? He is a difficult player to succeed against. Pouliot has size and good speed, but his real appeal (for me) is that he is a great impediment. He is like a rain delay. The opposition is behind their net, getting their next sortie set. Pass comes from behind the net to right defender, and his clear lane to the center is interrupted as Pouliot gets his stick on the puck and it glances into the neutral zone. Or the RD bobbles the puck and BP is on him like an oversized stoat. He is frustrating, like trying to put on your coat with one of the sleeves inside out. Damned irritating.
- Pouliot needs to be meaner. No, Pouliot needs to be Pouliot. When people say “the Oilers need a big guy for the skill lines” a player like Pouliot is a very nice fit. You can pretend that J-F Jacques will work this time but it won’t work out at all. Skill players are out there to skill. You can’t have mutts with skill, Pat Quinn’s lost season was (hopefully) the ultimate example that ends the enforcer playing with skill experiments.
- Anything earth shattering from his stats? His 36 points ties his career high, but in fewer number of games than last time. New career high in assists.
- How good is he? A very good NHL forward. Hockey-reference has his best comp after nine years as Steve Konowalchuk and that is a nice player.
- Do you think he is pricey? Not really. $4 million for a top 6F is decent value. He was on pace for 54 points over 82 games. That is a nice total.
- Who did he play well with? Pouliot is a plug and play veteran, having had success with all centers. He clearly enjoyed his time with McDavid (2.94/60 5×5; 53.6 percent Corsi for percentage) but performed well with Nuge (1.60/60 5×5; 49.1 percent Corsi for percentage) as well—although the offense was a little shy. Corsica has him doing well with multiple linemates.
- He gets injured a lot. Pouliot plays a rugged style, and his injuries are not wimpy little maladies. Shoulder, broken foot, on it goes. He is a tougher player than some believe.
- Maroon took his job, it is over. WHY do people see 15 games of anything and declare it worthy? Everything the numbers tell us suggest sample size is a big deal. I do like Patrick Maroon, but the idea that Pouliot has to go because of Maroon’s presence on the roster is ridiculous.
- You are wrong, Maroon took his job. Will Pouliot be traded? He could be dealt, but I would use him on any of the three lines. He can run with McDavid, Nuge and the RHC Edmonton will no doubt bring in to replace Letestu (who moves to 4line).
- Who will they bring in? Free agent? I don’t think they can afford Steven Stamkos or David Backes, and the list after that lacks flair. Maybe we see a trade.
- Like? Andrew Shaw in Chicago is RFA and they have some issues, maybe they can make a deal. Ryan Strome had a poor year but is clearly talented (50 points in 2014-15). Calle Jarnkrok in Nashville is probably going to get a raise, maybe he shakes loose. Chiarelli needs to knock on doors, but a righty C with offensive talent should be on the list—and that will benefit Pouliot or Maroon (whoever is on the 3line).
- What about the Condors? What about the Condors?
- Why this song? I think the lyric is about both taking risks and staying in your place, or the decision to stay or go. For me, the Oilers are in risk mode this summer, but Pouliot is a rock they can lean on. It’s also a little bit about not listening to people who tell you not to try or push for something better, and do it for reasons that are not in your best interest. There are people in the world like that, who knows how many people they hold back. God what a great song.