29Samuel Poulin
Photo Credit: Vincent Lévesque-Rousseau/Phœnix Sherbrooke

Flames 2019 First Round Targets: Samuel Poulin

In hockey, often teams have to trade off size for skill. Sherbrooke Phoenix forward Samuel Poulin, a potential first round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, is a rather unique combination of size, skill and hockey intelligence and could be a bargain for the Calgary Flames at 26th overall.

Scouting report

The son of former NHLer Patrick Poulin – who played 634 games in NHL for Hartford, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Montreal – the younger Poulin is a 6’2″, 205 left shot winger hailing from Laval. He was one of the more promising rookies in the QMJHL in 2017-18 with a 45-point debut in the circuit. He followed that up with an even more impressive sophomore season, boosting his production to over a point per game.

Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino summarized Poulin’s attributes with his May rankings:

Good size, projects to play up and down the lineup. Could use some polish in terms of finishing ability. NHL bloodlines (from father Patrick) always a plus.

Benoit Belanger of McKeen’s Hockey had a more detailed breakdown of the ins and outs of why scouts like Poulin:

Samuel Poulin is a junior player in an adult body. He is physically strong, plays a mature game and has good work ethic. He is a goal-scoring winger with an excellent shot. There are several aspects of Poulin’s game that stand out, namely his shot and ability to get open for clean looks at the net. He can finish in a variety of ways on both his forehand and backhand, and his one-timer from the circles is devastatingly accurate. A shoot-first winger who knows how to find the back of the net. Sniping winger with a lethal shot, he is a high-volume shooter who does a lot of damage off the rush. Can score at will, but his playmaking is highly underrated.

All-in-all, Poulin is a grown-ass man who plays a mature Game. His skating is thought to be his weak spot, but it’s not awful. He’s a smart, versatile, responsible two-way player. He’s not particularly dazzling or showy, but he’s a damn fine hockey player who projects to be much of the same at the pro level.

The numbers

Poulin had 29 goals and 76 points in the 2018-19 season (and another 14 points in 10 playoff games). He led Sherbrooke in points (and goals) in both the regular season and playoffs. Relative to his age group, he stacks up really well within the entire QMJHL.

He was fourth among his age group in points (behind Jakob Pelletier, Nathan Legare and Alex Beaucage), third in primary points (behind Pelletier and Legare), and fifth in goals (behind Legare, Pelletier, Beaucage and Raphael Lavoie). At even strength, he was third in points, tied for first in primary points and fifth in goals. He might not be an elite finisher, but he was a very reliable offensive contributor on a pretty shallow offensive team.

Availability and fit

Poulin is a promising first round pick, so it probably shouldn’t be surprising that he might not necessarily be available when the Flames select at 26th overall:  ISS has him 24th, Dobber Prospects has him 32nd, the Draft Analyst/Sporting News has him 40th, my rankings at The Hockey Writers have him 19th, Sportsnet has him 29th, The Athletic has him 33rd and 31st, and The Hockey News has him 25th.

He’s not quite the same, obviously, but Poulin reminds me a bit of Sean Monahan in his draft year. Physically mature, offensively reliable, and defensively responsible. Poulin has more rough spots in his game than Monahan did in 2013, but there aren’t a lot of big things wrong with how Poulin plays the game so it’s easy to see why the Flames would covet him. His offensive talents might not be as dazzling as someone like Pelletier, but his size and defensive awareness suggest that it might be easier for Poulin to translate what he does well to the pros.

2019 first round targets

Egor Afanasyev | John Beecher | Tobias Björnfot | Bobby Brink | Simon Holmström | Pavel Dorofeyev | Anttoni Honka | Ryan Johnson | Spencer Knight | Brett Leason | Connor McMichael | Ilya Nikolayev | Jakob Pelletier

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  • Off the wall

    Otw turns 55 today. I can order from the ‘young senior’ menu. But I probably won’t.

    My birthday wish is to have a team that can compete for a Stanley Cup. I’ve been waiting since 1989….🔥

    My best guess is I don’t have 30 years remaining 🤪

  • everton fc

    Looks like this kid may be pro-ready, now. A year in the “A”, where he can learn to lice and play like a pro, and to work on his skating, and he may be someone who could fit in here. Honestly, if I had to pick between Poulin and Pelletier, I’d take Pelletier. Pelletier may me on the “small” side, but check out interviews with him – he is solidly built, and a lot of his points – goals and assists – come from the “dirty areas” around the crease – yet, Pelletier can shoot, and has NHL speed, already.

    Happy Birthday, OTW!

  • Garry T

    I have been pushing Raphael Lavoise and Poulin for months. They are essentially twins size wise, skill wise etc. Lavoise is the better skater. He is super quick. Watching them in the Q via a feed, I thought Jesus these two love to hit, both ends of the ice. Poulin has his own scoring song in Quebec and it’s neat. Neither likes the puck in their own end and both go after it. I would trade for Philly,s 11th and take Lavoise there. Pick either Poulin or Leason with the 26th. Find a big, fast center next year for those two in the draft and they will be fun to watch.

    • everton fc

      The more I think about Pelletier being available at #26, the more I think that may be a tremendous gift, like Andersson was. Ever since Frederik Gauthier was drafted in the 1st round back 2013, I am afraid of big QMJHL forwards whose skating is “average”. I see Pelletier as much less of a risk, and almost a sure NHL player, than Poulin. Just me. Taking Leason over Pelletier, at “26”, is crazy, to me. But that’s “me”. To each, his own…

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I have changed my mind on Poulin since I thought he was Dave’s son but learned he is Patrick’s son. Dave was a great player while Patrick dominated in the Q but was average in the NHL and was selected 9th overall.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I don’t see anything that says he is a weak skater. It does say above average top-gear but quickness needs work in tight spots. The only concern I would have is that he is in a man’s body playing against boys….that is about to change.

  • Off the wall

    Samuel-Poulin
    Strengths
    •Size and Physical Play
    •Shooting and Puck Control

    Offensive Skills
    (Under Construction) (Improvements to Make)
    •Foot Speed
    •Agility

    Risk-Reward Analysis
    •Risk – 1.5/5 | Reward – 4/5

    Fantasy Hockey Potential
    •Offence – 8.5/10 | Defence – 8/10

    The Great WW might get his wish! 😉