Post-Season Report Card: Benoit Pouliot

When looking at Benoit Pouliot, it’s clear that the Canadiens and Minnesota Wild did a disservice to each other. While both Guillaume Latendresse and Pouliot had tremendous junior careers,  and Latendresse showed signs of brilliance when he joined the Wild, it became apparent quite quickly that both don’t have the gumption to be NHL players. One could attribute their lack of progress to their quick insertion to their NHL organizations, but those are excuses that, five years in, don’t cut the mustard.

So what’s the problem with Pouliot? With the skill set that Pouliot possesses, he has all the necessary tools to make a good NHL scorer. His size, strength, speed and shot would be attributes hundreds of guys would love to possess. However, his inability to stay on his feet, as well as his propensity to making idiotic reads in the offensive are huge issues. He is prone to giveaways when challenged by opposition players, and misses the net when more often than not. When he is at his best, Pouliot can dominate, but instead he choose to play a second rate caliber of hockey, often taking lazy and selfish penalties, which are issues that don’t endear him with his teammates.

Looking at his work ethic, it is clear that Pouliot doesn’t have the heart and determination that has become part of the identity of the Montreal Canadiens in recent years. People in this city love both their superstars and blue collar forwards, but Pouliot falls into neither of these categories. So what is he? A scorer? A power-forward? In my estimation, Benoit Pouliot looks like a player who thinks he is owed a king’s ransom for all the years of development and hard work he put into getting to the NHL level.  Perhaps being the fourth overall pick in the 2005 draft, one spot ahead of Habs’ netminder Carey Price, was enough to convince him he was well on his way, and didn’t need to add anything to his repertoire to succeed. Guess again, Chicken Legs. What you’ve done is played your way off of two organizations, and perhaps even the NHL.

I can’t think of a team that would take another chance on Pouliot going forward. The Canadiens certainly shouldn’t, unless Habs’ Coach Jacques Martin can convince GM Pierre Gauthier that his summer camp whipping boy deserves another chance. High unlikely, but I’ve seen Gauthier make dumber decisions in his career as an NHL executive.

Perhaps the KHL is best suited for him, considering his Russian-like unwillingness to work hard.

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