FlamesNation Prospect Profile: #3 Emile Poirier

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We’re in the top three in our annual FlamesNation prospect rankings now, and when you get to the top three, you know you’re getting good players. At least, in theory you are – and unless your prospect pool has no hope whatsoever, by this point, you’re looking at future NHLers.

The Flames are a few years out of the hopeless prospect pool era now. And Emile Poirier, who comes in at number three? He’s probably gonna be pretty good.

Not that there was necessarily any reason to think he was a good pick from the start. Sure, there was some stuff to like about him – he’s fast, he can score (although barely over a point per game in the QMJHL in your draft year doesn’t necessarily scream high talent), he’s physical – but nobody had him ranked as a first round pick.

And sure, probably the best time to take a risk is when you’ve got multiple first rounders. The Flames had three that year. But taking someone not ranked that high? Especially when Hunter Shinkaruk, who had outscored Poirier in his draft year (and in the WHL, no less), was still available? And you take Poirier? Seriously?

In their rookie pro seasons in 2014-15, Shinkaruk scored 31 points in 74 games for the Utica Comets. Poirier put up 42 in 55 in Adirondack.

Actually, Poirier – who was Adirondack’s youngest player – was also one of their absolute best:

poirieraddygoals

poirieraddypoints

poirieraddyshots

You don’t get slices that noticeable unless you’re a standout player. And to further compound Poirier’s affect, it should be noted he had the potential for his impact to be even greater: of the Adirondack Flames’ full 76 game season, Poirier played just 55, held off the ice either due to injury or his brief stint in the NHL (more on that shortly).

The numbers do drop off as you go down: he had a greater share in team goals than team points; he had a greater share in team points than team shots. But he’s a higher level player compared to most of his teammates. When he was on the ice, there was greater chance for meaningful impact. A goal is worth more than a shot, after all, and in his first professional season, Poirier figured out how to make impacts.

Eleven Adirondack players dressed for the baby Flames more often than Poirier did, and Poirier remained the best of the bunch.

Only David Wolf scored more goals than Poirier: 20 to his 19, and he played an additional four games (while also being five years older and about an inch taller and like, 33 pounds heavier). Garnet Hathaway tied him in goal scoring, but it took him an additional 17 games to reach that mark.

Only Kenny Agostino put up more points than Poirier: 43 to his 42, and he needed another 12 games with which to do it. The next closest guy was Max Reinhart, with 39 over 69 games.

Poirier had 110 shots over his 55 games: exactly a two shots per game pace. Reinhart (172), Elson (150), Agostino (134), Hanowski (129), Hathaway (123), and Wolf (118) were the only players with more. Elson, Reinhart, and Hanowski were superior in shots per game, Agostino and Wolf tied Poirier, and Hathaway had fewer, suggesting Poirier was an essential component to actually driving pucks towards the opposition’s net.

And to loop back around: he was also far more successful offensively than Elson, Reinhart, and Hanowski, two of whom are no longer even with the Flames. Finishing ability is important. By all indications, finishing ability is exactly what Poirier has: and it’s going to allow him to make the jump to the NHL where others failed.

Adirondack may not have been a great team in the 2014-15 season – fourth in its division, and nine points out of a playoff spot – and while you prefer to see a prospect be an impact player on a good team, the next best thing is for a young prospect to take top spot on a not-so-great team. 

Poirier even got his NHL call up, and even though he barely got to play – barely averaging eight minutes a game – he threw a lot of hits, and picked up his first assist in his first six games. He clearly wasn’t ready for the NHL just then… but the NHL will be right around the corner, and he should make it.

Probably as an impact player. Adirondack wasn’t great, but he did it for them, as the youngest player of the group.

Quotable

Well, I think the greatest thing maybe for him and his development was that opportunity to get called up for a few games when the Flames were on their eastern swing there, because he had an opportunity to really see how the best players in the world play and perform every night, and that’s the challenge that we’re trying to give Emile – that every time he’s on the ice he needs to be a guy that effects the outcome of the game in a positive way. He has that offensive ability, he has great skating ability, but I think what he learns from times when he had his call-up last year and when he’s around the people in Calgary, he has a better idea of what he has to do consistently in order to get himself one, to the NHL, and then two, for him to be able to excel. So it’s all about the little things and the habits and the small details with Emile, and I think that was one thing he learned last year, that he still has a ways to go in that department and once he can kind of get over that hump, I think that he could be a pretty exciting player for years to come.

– Ryan Huska, Adirondack Flames/Stockton Heat head coach

  • KiLLKiND

    I question having him above Bennett, but he deserves to be in the conversation which alone shows how talented he is. Just imagine our potential future line of Gaudreau, Bennett, Poirier….. that would also be incredibly deadly on the PP.

  • Parallex

    So then Bennett #1 & Gillies #2.

    With regards to Emile. I like him a lot. He’s got a lot of standout tools just needing refinement and progress. Can’t say I’ve seen or heard of any outstanding weaknessess to his game. Seems like a solid bet to one day occupy a spot in the Flames top six and even if he falls short of that he’s versitile enough to occupy a spot in the bottom six.

  • Burnward

    I suspect he makes the Flames by season’s end, he just needs a little more polish.

    While I was one of many who knew nothing of the guy before being picked, I was all for it after some quick scouting report reads and seeing how fast he was. I was never a fan of Shinkaruk, so the disappointment level in not picking him just wasn’t there for me.

    IMO, Poirier has the chance to be a game breaker with his speed and shot. Not a superstar per se, but a guy whose abilities will force the opposition to stay honest and who will score big goals at big times because this guy can burn.

  • Byron Bader

    Ari … given Poirier was selected as one of Adirondack’s only All-Stars (along with Ortio and newly-acquired Drew Shore) … any sense of how he matched up, scoring wise, vs. the other forwards selected for the All-Star game?

  • RedMan

    Both Bennett and Poirier bring the “new” style of play – fast and aggresive. if he can translate that to top six ability, he is a great catch at the spot he was selected.

  • The Fall

    Thanks Arii. I generally like your articles but TBH would have liked a little more steak and a little less sizzle in this one.

    I get that people generally are excited about this player…but why? Pretty well a whole article on counting stats with little context. A quick chart with goals/points/shots per game sums up everything stated in the article.

    The one nice point of interest was Shinkaruk as these two will be linked together; however for fairness I believe Shinkaruk was coming back after significant injury.

    Just wondering if there is any additional information available for FN readers? How about his performance on the team in terms of Corsi For/Against, Relative Corsi, Fenwick? Any NHLe comparables for last year and what we should be aiming for this year? As a left shot playing RW can he also play LW if called up?

  • BurningSensation

    Reminds me a tonne of old-school scoring winger Geoff Courtnall. Size, speed, shot, and that drive off the wing.

    Screams 2nd line scoring winger to me.

  • The Fall

    from the comments of the coaches. he seems to be a player that needs to work on the off-ice parts of his game: fitness and focus.

    How he comes into camp will tell a lot to Hartley about how much he wants on the team. …Poirier needs to forget about putting up the numbers and Josh-Jooris himself into the lineup.

    • RedMan

      I agree, the coaches comments sound like the “small” things, like how to be a pro and the level of fitness required. hopefully he worked his a** off this summer

  • McRib

    “….but nobody had him ranked as a first round pick.”

    Red Line Report and McKeen’s both had him as a legitimate first rounder…. Red Line Report had him as the number one sleeper (ranked 21st) in the draft and said of him “improved so quickly he’d have been top 15 in 2 more weeks.”

    Maybe the advanced stat community should start following other scouts outside of NHL Central Scouting, Corey Proman, once and awhile….. Who was Red Line Reports biggest sleeper in 2014… Oh ya that would be Travis Sanheim. What about in 2015…. Zachary Senyshyn.

      • McRib

        Hahah, so were Emile Poirier and Zach Senyshyn!!!! Outside of the advance stat community of course who only blindly follow Corey Pronman because he considers NHLE in his rankings (I stopped following him when he still had Kirill Kabanov as a Top. 5 NYI prospect, as he was about to play in the ECHL, also didn’t consider him a prospect before then because he had a neck tattoo and I found out his father was directly connected to the Russian Mob, when you only follow the numbers such as NHLE you overlook things). Honestly the only people that I know who were surprised about Poirier going in the first round were people who write for these sites. Haha. Montreal tried to trade up to get him, as they desperately wanted him at 25 and knew they wouldn’t get him!!! I said this of course all on draft day here, but everyone was too busy freaking out about not taking silver spoon Shinkaruk who interviewed so horribly at the combine, I’m told he would have fallen out of the first round if not for Vancouver (we all know Gillies track record at the draft table).

        When Zach Senyshyn lights it up next year the storys will come out that 5+ other teams (which I already know) in the first round had him as a Top. 20 talent like Poirier, but because Pronman didn’t it would be “nobody had him ranked as a first round pick.” on FN. Honestly I will go on record now and say Zach Senyshyn has a very good chance of becoming the best of those three Boston first rounder and most good scouts I have talked to would say the same (I know for certain he will be better than DeBrusk).

  • DoubleDIon

    I was one of those people who was super ticked we didn’t take Shinkaruk at Poirier’s spot. Not as ticked as with Jankowski and Teravainen, but still ticked.

    Glad no one listens to me…haha

    • McRib

      So glad we went with Poirier and Jankowski. Forwards with IQ, skill, size, speed… this is what the first round is all about. Guys like the other two slip to the second round all the time, not that I think they’re bad prospects (and obviously Teravainen had a nice playoffs and should have an ~35-40 point year next year)

      • DoubleDIon

        Only brain-injury patients are glad we went with Jankowski with Maatta and Teravainen on the board. Seriously? A guy playing midget AA is what you want in a 1st round pick because he had a growth spurt? Jankowski was every bit as bad a pick as Pelech.

        Poirier was 162 pounds when he was drafted. Smaller than Baertschi who is a small forward. It’s worked out well to this point, but how you figure he had size is beyond me.

  • DoubleDIon

    “Didn’t consider him a prospect before then because he had a neck tattoo”

    This kills me. Wonder how much great talent has been wasted over the years because it didn’t fit into the a-typical cookie cutter mold… Which more times than not end up being bigger wastes of skin than the “risky” ones.

    • McRib

      Oh I feel you, NHL scouts often overlook talent because they mistake bad character for immaturity. See Daniel Sprong, Josh Ho-Sang, Adam Erne, etc. But Kirill Kabanov was never going to be one of those he comes from a very different world and was a very different person. Once and awhile NHL Scouts are also bang on!!! Hahah. Character aside it doesn’t make up for the fact that his on ice product was no where close to being a Top. 5 NYI Prospect at that time let alone Top. 20. But because he mostly pays attention to NHL advanced stat coefficients that say Russians who play in the KHL at 16 have a great chance of being NHLers he refuses to give up on prospects that are long gone.

  • everton fc

    I’d like to see Bennett centering Poirier.

    Someday…

    Perhaps Ferland on the left-side, if he proves as good as he was in the playoffs and can stay healthy.

  • prendrefeu

    I’m just waiting for the day when an announcer screams Poirier’s name endlessly as he carries the puck across three lines on some crazy fast breakaway and slots it in 5-hole past a goalie… similar to

    MESSI MESSI MESSI MESSI MESSI MESSI MESSI MESSI
    MESSI MESSI MESSI MESSI MESSI MESSI MESSI MESSI and so on…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IivUVo4V1Wo

    POIRIER POIRIER POIRIER POIRIER POIRIER POIRIER
    POIRIER POIRIER POIRIER POIRIER POIRIER POIRIER x infinity