Pouliot On His Way Out

Judging by Pierre Gauthier’s remarks in today’s Gazette, Pouliot Exits Picture, Benoit Pouliot’s days of wearing  a Habs uniform are now over, and those folks who ranted and raved about sending Guillaume Latendresse to Minnesota for this guy were absolutely right.

There were some real hard-assed comments on this site when that trade went down, but I said it was a good thing as Latendresse was such an underachiever and we got a player who only just needed new scenery. But in the end, it turned out that Pouliot wrote the book on underachieving.

It began fine enough. He was a smoothie with what seemed like good hands, and he basically notched points almost as frequently as Lats was doing with the Wild. I even mentioned that he reminded me just a little of Jean Beliveau but it’s possible someone may have slipped some mescaline into my beer at this time so never mind about that.

Yay, I thought. A big, smooth francophone putting the puck in the net for us. See ya, Lats. We got a good one now.

It only lasted for awhile, though. As the season hit the dog days of the schedule and beyond, Pouliot just stopped doing what he had started. Latendresse wasn’t missing a beat with his new team, and soon enough I began thinking about how right these people were who hated the deal.

In the playoffs? Forget it. Those kids skating around with flags before game-time had more of an impact on most nights than Pouliot did.

How can this be? Voted top rookie in his initial season in the Ontario Hockey League, drafted 4th overall by Minnesota, was a member of the 2006 World Juniors. It just screamed “star material.” Then a bust in Minnesota, and in Montreal, the unforgivable: In 18 games in the playoffs, when the Canadiens needed all hands on deck, Pouliot managed a whopping zero goals and 2 assists.

If guys like Pouliot and Andrei Kostitysn had done anything in the playoffs, maybe we wouldn’t have had to endure clips of Patrick Kane bringing the Cup into LA bars and on the Leno show, and enjoyed watching Scott Gomez take it home to Alaska or Travis Moen to a wheatfield instead. But it wasn’t to be because Pouliot and a few others let us down. 

We see disappointing young players from time to time. A blue-chipper, for some reason, never lives up to his potential and endures a short and lacklustre NHL career. That’s fine when it happens to other teams. Don’t mind it at all. But when it happens to my team, it’s unacceptable.

If Pouliot lands on his feet with another team and ends up becoming a scoring machine, it’s going to give me serious indigestion.

17 thoughts on “Pouliot On His Way Out”

  1. the habs seem to have MORE than their fair share of underachievers. i don’t need to name them all, we know who they are……….. why is that? i wonder.

  2. I’ve always straddled the fence with Pouliot. I can see the everlasting potential, but it’s never really manifested with any regularity. I didn’t like Lats any better, really.

    If Pouliot is indeed on his way out, I hope PG packages him with both K bros and gets a big gritty winger to augment the top 2 lines. I hope someone else wants to take a chance on Pouliot’s potential. Personally I’m sick of all the potential in all of the players, and I want some damned performance.

    I’m not sure it’s all JM though, as much as I’d like to blame him. Otherwise, what was the problem in Minnesota? Cause JM wasn’t coaching him them.

    I don’t expect much from the draft tonight for the Habs, and I really don’t care about anyone else. Might flip it on if I get a minute or two though. Will check for your thoughts on who they’ve picked afterwards.

  3. I’ll admit that I was a believer when Benoit Pouliot first started playing for the Habs like his hair was on fire.
    Now the fire is extinguished and so is that lovin’ feeling we had for him.
    Trouble is, what possible value can we get for him now that it’s no secret that he’s become a nose picker?
    And with all the God-given talent he is blessed with, he has the potential to haunt us especially if he’s traded to an Eastern Conference team.
    I am fearful that will happen…
    I hate players who can play scintillating hockey but decide to turn it off for whatever reason. Drives me nuts.
    It’s crude to say, but BP doesn’t seem to care about us small people.

  4. Danno, pretty darn funny , the BP small people thing. Maybe it should be you doing the NHL awards show. You’d be great. Thanks for that.

  5. Lats for Pouliot was a clear mistake that was IMHO pretty visible at the time it was made, but I don’t think the Habs are just going to let him walk.

    Pouliot can at the very least make a serviceable 3rd-line winger and still has upside; letting him just walk after Lats’ successes in Minnesota would make that trade look plainly terrible; and frankly, he’s an actual asset that it would be stupid to lose for nothing.

    He may be dangled in a trade, however, and I suspect that’s why he wasn’t qualified. Of course, there’s also the possiblity that they have a contract just about signed (pending a physical or whatever) so sending a QO at this juncture would be a moot point.

    As for underachievers… Martin’s been terrible with the kids (one of several reasons he needs to be kicked out ASAP, IMHO) and he was clearly one of the reasons Latendresse was shipped out for much less than his value, but Montreal in general has been a talent blackhole for a few years where people get worse when they come in and get better when they leave. They need some structure to their system, and they need a system that doesn’t make them worse.

    But yeah, maybe Pouliot just couldn’t be helped. All tools, no toolbox. He might still put it together someday, but that’s a big longshot at this point. Which made me wonder, are the Habs so short on first-round disappointments they need to trade for other teams’, too? 😉

  6. Nice, MathMan. Pouliot and the other guys who didn’t show up upset me to no end. Almost like they weren’t into it. For those bucks they’d better be into it. Pouliot, for whatever reason, forgot how to do what he did earlier. A real mystery. And now apparently Sergei has spoken out and I could only get the gist of it because my French is lacking but it seems very unusual to talk like that after receiving an offer from the team.

  7. Hi Dennis, do you have a link to the French article where Sergei whines again? I’d like try and read it, but I’ll probably give up and give it to Google Translate.

    I agree with the “expert” consensus that Pouliot is on his way out. That a deal is very close may mean that there is a demand for him. Despite a pathetic playoffs his value may even have gone up based on a career best regular season. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    I like that in the article Gauthier indicates that they are still negotiating with Moore. I think he played well and is good value for the team. Too bad about Metropolit who always played with determination. I can understand not wanting Bergeron for only power-plays despite his great shot. Losing Mara isn’t a problem, he would probably be #8 or #9.

  8. I think it’s a little early to call on Pouliot, we’ll know by Monday of course but even after that, that just makes him a UFA and therefore even cheaper for the Habs to draft and after busting twice in rather short order, it’s not like he’ll get a ton of offers on July 1st and might agree to sign for league minimum just to try and stay in the game.

    Pouliot has not had good conditioning through his AHL/NHL time, looking at his draft profile he’s barely gained weight since he was drafted which means he’s much more easily knocked around and injured. If he’s signed and comes back from summer with much stronger conditioning, he could be a more useful player. I don’t see this as a wasted investment yet and I doubt PG is going to cut the guy loose so early considering the team could use cap-friendly talent and he can’t exactly demand much.

    Latendresse… I could care less what he does in MIN, it’s easy to play where it doesn’t matter as many players have proved when they were stars in the small markets but utterly failed in the big time and playoffs. He was about as friendly to the Canadiens as Sergei just was in the media following the trade, but that wasn’t played up as much because how dare it be suggested it was a hometown boy’s fault he wasn’t playing well. Failed to do anything under two different coachs and honestly, terrible attitude. Never gave it his all for a full season when he was here and like many before him, felt his being Quebecois meant he was entitled to a roster spot regardless of him trying hard, which he didn’t do very often. It was blasphemous when he got compared to the greats of the past on RDS, those guys cared and brought it every day, Lats brought it once every other week.

  9. Danno, I want him gone. He’d be a perfect Leaf. I’m telling you, when I’m owner, there will be none of this kind of player on my team. Of course that’ll be up to you and others to make sure because I’ll be busy making sure the wives are comfortable, but you you know what I mean.

  10. Right on, Robert R. I love your paragraph about Latendresse. He was a pampered prick who loved being a big shot, and he was inconsistant, whiny and spoiled and on way too many nights didn’t help the Habs. You put everything really well, including the fact the Pouliot still hasn’t filled out.

  11. pouliot payed well before he was intruduce to martin;s couching who says thats it pouliot thats at fault why not the couch at fault just look at martin,s record it speaks for itself

  12. James, you very well be right that Martin is a fault in the way he handled Pouliot and others. But at some point, the player has to take some responsibility for not picking it up a notch. I agree with you to some extent, but no goals and 2 assists in the playoffs when we needed him the most doesn’t sit well.

  13. We can make up stuff about Latendresse’s game and his attitude if it will make us feel better I guess, but let’s not pretend that we don’t care what he does in Minnesota on the grounds that “he couldn’t do that here”, because that’s bogus. The reality is he’s not being more productive in Minnesota than he was for the Habs. On a per-icetime basis, his 5-on-5 numbers are very similar to last year’s. The big difference, and the reason he’s got bigger counting numbers, is that he gets more icetime and more PP time (because Minnesota has a competent coach who recognizes that Latendrese is a good scorer).

    There is no reason to believe he could not do for the Habs what he does for Minnessota. He had done so already!

    You know what they call Lats over on Minnesota blogs? BTE. Stands for “Best Trade Ever”.

    The Habs will not cease sucking until they stop trading their productive kids for “attitude problems”. That’s what leads to clunkers like Ribeiro for Niinima or Latendresse for Pouliot. If you’re wondering why the Habs are stagnating, this is one reason. I’m actually kind of hoping both Ks start next season with the Habs; we need the change in direction with young guys.

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