Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Prospect Watch 2008: Benoit "Delay of Game" Pouliot

NHL.com sez:

Benoit Pouliot -- The fourth overall selection in 2005 has been a late bloomer in Minnesota's system and played for the Wild down the stretch last season. After racking up 35 goals and 161 penalty minutes in his final junior season with Sudbury of the OHL, Pouliot hit the AHL and scored 19 times for Houston in 2006-07. He made his NHL debut that season, but was held off the score sheet in three games. After going 10-14-24 in 46 games for Houston last season, Pouliot made the jump and scored twice in 11 games for the Wild. Both of those came in one game against Calgary on March 22.

Thompson is confident Pouliot is ready to have a breakout season in 2008-09.

"He's been an enigma, but we accepted that when we drafted him," Thompson said. "He finished the year with our club and played in the playoffs. He's certainly got a chance to make it, too."
Ms. Conduct sez:

You had me at "late bloomer" and then REALLY had me at "enigma." On paper, he's got everything you could ever want in a star forward. Big, agile, creative, fast, good looking (now that he's shaved his head and put some weight on)...

But there's been a maturity and confidence missing in his game in Houston that has left so many fans anywhere from mildly disappointed to downright angry. I've been both of those things in the span of one game (more than once!), so I know whereof I speak.

There's a laundry list of things Pouliot Needs To Do to be successful in the NHL and I think he's working on them. I think he'll do better under Lemaire and his system because it is a bit more free than Constantine's. I tend to agree with Tommy that this is likely the year the long-dormant Pouliot finally blooms, but I'm not sure if I feel that way because we've only got 4 centers in Minnesota so we really don't have a choice but to hope for that, or because it really does seem like his "time."

I find the NHL.com blurb is a little misleading with that PIM stat though. Pouliot isn't a fighter or even particularly tough. Based on what I've seen him do in Houston, I'd wager most of that PIM is from immature stick retaliation penalties. He's a hacker and a slasher and not very good at hiding it from the ref, though he's getting better, I think. Add that to the list of problems he needs to solve.

I'd like to suggest a new mantra for Benny as he attempts to conquer the NHL this year and get a long term deal with Minnesota (it's a contract year for him):

3 comments:

"Dave Schultz"  August 13, 2008 at 8:00 PM  

that should TOTALLY be his mantra. He should say it to himself every morning while he fixes his hair or whatever he does. I'll imagine several scenarios...

yes, they're all delicious.

Life_As_A_Redhead  August 13, 2008 at 8:53 PM  

I LOVE this series of posts. LOVE it.

I would like to suggest that you make a tag, like "prospect watch 08" so that all the related posts can be accessed under one thing.

Thanks again, I love this.

Ms. Conduct  August 13, 2008 at 10:38 PM  

Done! Thanks for reading. I'm having fun with this one. ;)

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