The Boston Bruins have signed another hated Montreal Canadiens on a one-year deal worth $1.1 million, and his name is not Steve Begin.
Words could cut it, but we’ll just let Jack Edwards do the introduction on Benoit Pouliot:
The fourth overall pick by the Minnesota Wild in 2005 NHL Entry Draft, it could be a tad early to call Pouliot a bust, but he certainly played himself out of the Habs’ organization this year. The 24-year-old posted just 30 points (13 goals) in 11:32 average time on ice over 79 regular season games; zero points in three post season games (against the Bruins) while averaging just 6:12 time on ice.
The Canadiens had to qualify Pouliot at his 2010-11 salary of $1.35 million. As a free agent, the Canadiens can negotiate to sign him for less money, but that appears doubtful. Pouliot never lived up to his potential and head coach Jacques Martin expressed his lack of faith in Pouliot by not dressing him for four of the Canadiens’ seven playoff games this spring.
Pouliot had good size at 6-foot-3 and 199 pounds and a good set of skills, but his skating needs work and there have been serious questions about his drive. After failing to make the grade in Minnesota, he was traded to Montreal on Nov. 23, 2009 for Guillaume Latendresse.
Both players seemed to enjoy the change of scenery, but after scoring 15 goals and nine assists in 39 games in his first season in Montreal, Pouliot tailed off last season and managed only 13 goals and 17 assists in 79 games. He was given an opportunity to play on the top two lines, but finished the season as a fourth-liner.
A projected fourth-liner for $1.1M? He could be a good addition with Gregory Cambell and Shawn Thonrton if Daniel Paille were to get a jump in the pecking order, but that’s a big ‘if’.
Count this blogger in as on the fence with this move by Chiarelli. On one hand, by adding a former first-rounder on a one-year deal to try and turn the tables around in his career, and maybe become something more than a fourth-liner for short money, would be a great move. And if he pitches-in on the PK, bonus. Plus worst case scenario, injuries happen, and this could prove to be just another depth move.
But on the other hand — although Pouliot’s presence will provide some added competition this training camp — I was crossing my fingers to see more of the “kids” from AHL Providence. Then again, remember when we all said “Gregory Campbell: the throw-in from the Florida trade.”?