Published by hockeybuzz.com, 4-25-2018
DOB: September 29, 1986 (Age, 31)
Draft: 2005, 1st round (4th overall) MIN
How acquired: FA
Last contract signed: July 1, 2017, 1yr./$1.150 million
Final year of contract: 2017-18
2017-18 Stats: 74 games played | 13 goals | 6 assists | 19 points | -8 | 13:41
Buffalo Career Stats: 74 games | 13 goals | 6 assists | 19 points | -8 | 13:41
What we wrote preseason: The Buffalo Sabres have a huge hole at left wing in the top-six right now as it's a bit of a mess [and they] didn't do much to fill the hole at left wing this off season.
Since being selected fourth-overall by the Minnesota Wild in the 2005 NHL Draft, Pouliot has had stops in Montreal, Boston, Tampa Bay, in NY with the Rangers and Edmonton where he was bought out after the third year of a 5yr./$20 million contract.
Necessity was a big part of the signing in Buffalo and Pouliot did come in on a reasonable one-year deal with Sabres GM Jason Botterill saying, "If you look at Benoit's history, in situations where he's had a difficult season he's been able to bounce back strong. That's what we're looking for from him coming into Buffalo here."
Going into the 2016-17 season, new coach Phil Housley doesn't have a lot to work with on the left side. Training camp will sort a lot of this out but it wouldn't be too surprising to see Pouliot get a good shot at landing a spot in the top-six.
What we wrote mid-season: Basically there's been the good Pouliot, which is more reflective of a player picked in the first round (although it's nowhere near No. 4-overall good) and there's the Edmonton, bad version of Pouliot, the one that caused him to get bought out by the Oilers. Pouliot has size, some jump to his step and he can skate very well for a player that's 6'3" 200 lbs. and Housley has moved Pouliot up and down the wing. Lately he's been on Eichel's left side and it hasn't amounted to much but it is good to say that his eight goals in 33 games this season equals the number he posted in 65 games for the Oilers all last season.
Impressions on his play this year: Extend the above mid-season analysis through the rest of the season with more bad than good. With the start the Sabres had this season, there was little chance Pouliot could hit reasonable numbers and as a complimentary player, there wasn't very much to compliment in October and November. His stints on top-six lines with Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly produced little and later in the seasons, if he wasn't in the bottom six he was up in the press box. Some team might get a decent season from him as he's got skills and can skate very well for a big guy, but it won't be in Buffalo.
Questions moving forward: Where will his next stop be?
Contract info via CapFriendly, stats via sabres.com and hockey reference.com.