Development Camp 2013: Emile Poirier

 

 

(Ryan Pike attended every day of the Flames development camp. We will continue roll out the interviews he collected while there this week)

When he was chosen at 22nd overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, Emile Poirier seemed like a bit of an odd choice. Traditionally full of big, burly western Canadians, the Calgary Flames have rarely drafted players from the QMJHL and the only time they chose one earlier than Poirier was in 1995, when they grabbed Denis Gauthier at 20th overall.

But Poirier may be exactly what the club needs at this point. Already full of smaller, skilled, arguably less aggressive forwards like Sven Baertschi, Johnny Gaudreau and Roman Horak, the Flames get in Poirier a 6’1", 185 pound forward who has the frame to put on some serious muscle and was also a triple digit PIM guy last year. It also help that he was a key contributor down the stretch for Gatineau and was a difference-maker through the most obvious manner of generating points – driving the net.

I had the chance to meet with Poirier last week at Calgary Flames development camp.

Ryan Pike: WHAT ARE YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSIONS OF CALGARY?

Emile Poirier: I think it’s a great city. I’ve just seen a bit, but I think the organization is great. All the staff here are amazing.

WHAT PART OF QUEBEC ARE YOU FROM?

Montreal.

YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T GROW UP AS A FLAMES FAN. WHO DID YOU CHEER FOR?

Montreal. [Chuckles]

WELL, THAT’S A TEAM WITH SOME SERIOUS HISTORICAL RIVALRIES WITH CALGARY. FOR ANYONE THAT HASN’T SEEN YOU PLAY, CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR GAME? WHAT DO YOU BRING TO THE TABLE?

A lot of energy. Offensive player, can play on both sides. I think a lot of energy, compete hard, skate fast.

YOU SHOT UP MOST DRAFT RANKINGS THIS SEASON. DID YOU FEEL ANY OF THAT MOMENTUM DOWN THE STRETCH?

Sure. As the season was going I was proving that I was capable to play hockey at that level. That’s what I’m trying to do and I’ll always know that I’m capable to do it.

Poirier will likely head back to junior this upcoming season where he will try to build on his team leading 32-goal, 70-point performance from last year.

Flames 2013 development camp profiles

  • loudogYYC

    It’s funny how we all find comfort in comparisons, a friend and I also compared Poirier to a mix of Burrows and Gagne after watching every possible YouTube video of him last week.

    I went to 2 days of dev camp and was looking out for him. Unfortunately I didn’t think he was too noticeable except for his skating stride, it’s really weird.

  • The big test for Poirier is his draft+1 season now. You almost always know if you’ve hit on something a year out because the guy takes a big step forward.

    For instance, Corey Perry was mentioned here. He went from a 25 goal, 78 point guy in his draft season to a 40 goal, 113 point guy the very next season. He led the Knights in scoring by 25 points that year.

    Poirier has a shorter track record of notable output, which is why he’s a bit more of a risk generally speaking than a guy like Shinkaruk. That said, if he comes out and puts up 90+ points and leads his club in scoring again, Calgary probably has something.

    • McRib

      I agree to an extent, but its interesting the Hunter Shinkaruk’s of the world are where people completely loose me on NHLE (Even though I must admit I have warmed to certain Advanced Stats recently, in large part to FN).

      Because lets face it Shinkaruk can light the WHL on fire for the next couple of years. Yet, I’m still going to have questions like with his size and fairly average skating is he going to be able to not only play at the next level, but be a dominant everyday producer? Can he make the jump because if he aint producing he aint doing nothin!!!! He is not the type of former first rounder that ends up as a Bottom Six Grinder as he has no redeemable qualities for that. i.e. he could be another Jordan Schroeder.

      You are correct with where Emile Poirier totals end up this year tells a big story of if he is a Top. 6 or Bottom 6 NHL forward. That said he can put up 70+ points and he is still a Third Line NHLer for me because of exceptional skating for his size and up-tempo physical game.

      So in a certain sense Emile Poirier is not as risky as Shinkaruk, but his offensive potential is far less proven. That said he does seem on the upswing where Shinkaruks totals dropped off this year slightly and he has yet to lead his team in scoring, unlike Poirier. I think thats why the Flames knew they could take Poirier over Shinkaruk, because Poirier worst case ends up as a third liner where Shinkaruk could very likely end up as the next big time junior socrer not to make it.

      • Fair enough. I find the idea of “higher utility” is often a trap as well in evaluating kids though. Everyone talked about Greg Nemisz versatility when he was drafted – he as big, he could play the wing or center and he could play on the PK and the PP. Tyler Ennis was taken one pick later and he was considered riskier because he was small scorer who wouldn’t be able to fill any other role other than scorer in the league.

        5 years later and Ennis is quality NHLer while Nemisz is merely an adequate AHLer. His versatility is entirely moot.

        Not to say Poirier is comparable to Nemisz or anything. Just that role assumptions can lead you astray at times.

        I have next to no opinion of Poirier personally. A large jumble of kids put up 65-75 points in junior in their draft years. They begin to differentiate the next season or two when some fall off, some run in place and the chosen few take a big step or two forward. Flames fans should hope Poirier is the latter.

  • RKD

    As long as this guy is better than Shinkaruk then I will be happy. I remember everyone raging here when Feaster passed on Hunter, remember he was passed by a lot of other teams too. I’ve been saying all along we need more guys from the QJMHL and OHL, college players are necessarily better or more ready to be NHL players.

    • McRib

      Currently at this point I think Emile Poirier is a much safer bet to be a long term NHLer than Hunter Shinkaruk. Its not everyday a 6’2″ kid can skate like the wind, plays with an edge and has adequate finish. Worst case scenario Poirier ends up as a third line energy guy where Hunter Shinkaruk doesn’t bring much outside of scoring. If Shinkaruk is unable to produce regularly as a Top. 6 guy, I don’t see him being much of an NHLer.

      That’s the main reason why he fell our of favour with NHL teams, I don’t think it was an attitude thing in interviews. Because lets face it he is a CAA client so his big money agent would have coached him on how to interview, but there is a big chance he won’t be effective at the next level. If he pans out I see him as a Simon Gagne, but there are a lot of question marks like is he fast enough? big enough? does he compete hard enough? how does he handle adversity? I actually think I would have more questions at this point for a Hunter Shinkaruk, than I would for a Nic Petan. Because at least he is incredibly fast with a great Hockey IQ.

      Where with Emile Poirier its more… Is he going to be a third, second or first line guy? Where is his offensive ceiling located at?

  • McRib

    Nice Alex Burrows comparison, as much as I can’t stand his shenanigans and flopping he is an underrated offensive talent for sure. I would be more than happy to end up with a grittier version of AB.

    People are going to think I’m bat s***t crazy as it’s a high high high end (strike lightning twice) comparison. Although I just can’t get it out of my head as both were considered reaches during their drafts years in deep drafts with similar point totals at 18…

    But Emile Poirier reminds me a lot of Corey Perry in Junior. Obviously the stars would have to align, but he has that high end explosive first few steps with a long stride to eat up ice that creates ridiculous turnovers, he gets under opponent’s skin finishing all of his checks and can score going 100 mph. Poirier’s personality is even eerily similar, as he seems like a very reserved straight to the point type. If Poirier’s point totals go up to 113 next season maybe I am on to something… Haha. For now an Alex Burrows comparison is fine. Emerson Etem is also a more recent comparison that works who is a couple of years ahead on the same curve.

  • BurningSensation

    We are heaping a ton on this kid… if Poirier > Shinkaruk that is a win. I do think Poirier gives the system something it was desperately missing.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Stylistically, as a fast two-way “gritty” guy with some scoring ability, Marchand/Burrows are good fits. Whether he gets to that level is something else entirely, but I think people are talking about that as a ceiling rather than an expectation.

      @McRib: If he was a faster Corey Perry with a less hateable face that would end up being the best pick of the draft for sure.

      • McRib

        Some people out east already think Emile Poirier could be the steal of the draft. Lets see how he does next year but he has some NHL tools aready (size-skating) which is exciting. Redline Report had him at 25 in their Mock Draft and had this to say about him: “If they land him at #25, it will be the biggest steal of the draft.”

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I saw him live on Saturday, and it’s too early to say this guy is going to be an NHL’er, but I’d bet on it. Sure he’s gritty but he’s got good hands and a lot of top end speed.

  • BurningSensation

    Interesting comparison to Burrows… I admit I was blindly enraged at this pick because it felt like another Feaster ‘off the board’ special. My issues didn’t let me see things rationally.

    Now that I’ve had a few weeks to settle down, I quite like this kid. Still a long way to go, but if he turns into a useful Burrows type we’d have to consider it a homerun.

    BTW – The Lucic comparison is extremely wishful thinking. Everyone wants “a Lucic”. They Oilers have been wasting draft picks for a decade trying to find the next one (ironically, Lucic was drafted with an Oiler pick). People forget he is 1 in a million. There is no comparable for him… The guy has hands and skill and scoring that makes him borderline elite AND he is a true heavyweight. His coach had to sit him down and tell him he was absolutely not allowed to fight George Laraque. (look it up, 2008). There is no comparable in the NHL. A 30 goal guy who can dance with McGratton. Guys like that are harder to find than 100pt superstars.

  • BurningSensation

    @Kent Wilson

    I see Poirier as having more offensive upside than Burrows, and less of the shenanigans. The comparison that worked for me was Rene Bourque without the inconsistency. A big, fast, skill winger with a straight-line game who plays physically in all three zones and nets 30 goals a year like clock-work.

    A prototype 2nd line scoring winger, who always shades just below ‘elite’.

    • Well Burrows has scored 20+ goals in each of the last 4 seasons, including 35 in 2009-10. He’s also topped 50 points in three of the last 4 seasons.

      Not sure how much you want to credit the Sedins or quality of his team in general for that, but Burrows isn’t exactly a poor offensive player.

      I’ll be thrilled is anywhere near as good as either of them at the NHL level frankly.

      • BurningSensation

        Don’t get me wrong, the Alex Burrows comp is a very good one, and I also agree that we should cross our fingers that Poirier’s ceiling is higher.

        Not to get ‘ole timey’ or anything, but Poirier also reminds me a ton of Geoff Courtnall.

  • Demetric

    yeah, 3 inch difference and feared, I will give you that. but he is the same size as burrows now, 6’1″ and 183. if he fills out to 200 or a little more that could be a smaller but faster version of Lucic and you dont get triple digit PIM without a few scraps

    • Lucic is 6’4″ and 220+ pounds and is also a feared scrapper. There really isn’t an comparison between the two.

      At best Poirier is probably “scrappy” and willing to drive the net. Alex Burrows without the diving and whining perhaps?

        • McRib

          Its interesting no major comparison to a top NHLer blows me away with this kid because he has so much potential.

          As its not every day a 6’2″ Late Bloomer plays with an edge and can skate like the wind. Not to mention if they do they always have medicore offensive numbers the year they are drafted not 70 points (i.e. Colton Gillies or Brandon Sutter).

          Here is another comparison for Emile Poirier… Max Pacioretty!!

      • flamesburn89

        Burrows is a good comparable for me. Both fast, good hands, decent shots. Like you said though, Poirier probably doesn’t embellish excessively or bite anyone’s fingers in the middle of a scrum.

      • everton fc

        A good comparison, with Burrows.

        If Poirier can put up the #’s Burrows puts up – without the whining and divine, of course! – we may have a very good player we’ll enjoy watching… Hopefully for many years to come.

        I can tell you Poirier is not as bad a fighter as Burrows, who is horrific with the gloves off. Wideman even beatdown Burrows when the former was a Blue.

        • The funny thing is I pulled the comparison out of my butt, but looking at Burrows #s in junior, they do look like similar players.

          Burrows scored 30 points as a rookie for Shawinigan and then 35 goals and 70 points as a sophomore. He was also a triple digit PIM guy. Burrows is 6’1″, 188 pounds as well.

          Difference is, Poirier got there at a younger age. Burrows was a late add to his junior team, so his rookie year was also his 19-20 year old season. Also, Burrows’ team was much better, boasting a couple of 120+ point guys.

          • everton fc

            If Poirier can put up Burrows #’s… And I agree, he’ll be bigger than Burrows when all is said and done… I see Poirier as a skilled, gritty player, with potential to be the same, at the NHL level.

            Can you imgaine, if both make it, having Poirier and Ferland on the left side in the future? With Seiloff on the backend… And if Kanzig miraculously makes it… Ditto Harrison, who everyone seems to like thus far…

            We’d be tough to play against.

  • Demetric

    I do not pretend to be an expert at hockey. But I will say that I truly like that we picked Poirer. The guy has offensive skill, plays with a bit of an edge, and is insanely fast. Hopefully, he’ll be able to maintain his speed at the NHL level someday.