If Marc Bergevin is truly as enamored with rookie Brendan Gallagher as he seemed at his year end press conference, one guy he may want to draft is Gatineau Olympiques left winger Emile Poirier. Poirier, with the traits slightly bigger Brendan Gallagher or a slightly cleaner Brad Marchand, stands 6'1", 185 points and isn't afraid to drive the net. Scouts agree that Poirier exhibits good hockey sense, decision-making, and playmaking abilities, but feel that he often overpasses, and needs to shoot more often. Sometimes, when heavily scouted, one is able to make adjustments in time for the playoffs, and it seems as though that may have been the case here. While Poirier's regular season totals, on a horrific Gatineau team, were nothing to scoff at, he turned it on in the postseason, recording 10 points in 10 games (including six goals), and more importantly, recording 39 shots on net.
|2011-12||Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)||67||15||25||40||-17||40|
|2012-13||Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)||65||32||38||70||0||101|
There are certainly safer picks in the draft than the Montreal native, and scouts' opinions of him vary greatly, some seeing him as more of a playmaker with a physical edge, and some thinking he can translate into a power forward. One thing is for sure and that is that Poirier improved significantly the second half of the season. His wrist shot is now more of a threat, he is more intelligently using his teammates for zone entry, and has gained a greater physical presence. An added bonus is that Poirier is a willing shot-blocker, and a solid defensive presence, having at times been deployed on the penalty kill. Another bonus is that Poirier has a knack for finding himself on breakaways, which is a combination of good awareness and decision-making as well as good skating. He also has the skill to put them away, although likely not at the same rate in the NHL.
Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus:
Poirier was a top scorer on a weak Gatineau squad, averaging about a point per game as an 18-year-old with a late birthdate. He has good skill elements to his game: above-average hands, good quickness, and impressive coordination with the puck. His hockey sense is equally notable, as he makes good offensive zone reads as a playmaker and he knows where to position himself off of the puck. He also displays a solid shot, capable of finishing beyond the high-percentage areas. He has a gritty element to his game as well. He will show some edge in one-on-one battles, as well as drive to the net. Scouts are conflicted on his skating, with one praising it, and another saying that despite decent speed, his agility and the overall finer aspects of his skating need work.
Top Shelf Prospects:
Poirier's style can sometimes be reminiscent of the playmaking skill, shot and offensive ability of an Alex Tanguay. However we can also see him add physical elements to his game, hitting in the corners, and even dropping the gloves on occasion. When we factor those in, I really had a hard time coming up with the comparison, but I hope that will work for you. Its once again a style comparison only though, and not based on potential. If Poirier can be consistent in that physical game, and continues to develop the offence, he can become an effective 2 way winger, capable of playing in the top 6.
ISS Rank: Not Ranked in top-30
Craig Button Rank: 29
FC Rank: 39
McKeen's Rank: 26
Pronman Rank: 62
Hockey News Rank: 47
Average Rank: 41
Personal Rank: 21
Poirier will likely be taken somewhere between 25-45 overall, which means he would be an ideal pick at 34th or 36th, if the Canadiens like what they see. He would be a great compliment to whomever the team takes in the first round, as more of a long-term project.