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The Emile Poirier problem

The Flames' poor prospect management strikes yet again.

A rare glimpse of Emile Poirier actually playing hockey.
A rare glimpse of Emile Poirier actually playing hockey.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Calgary Flames are at it again. At the start of the season, numerous injuries required several rookies on the team. When veterans got healthy, the rookies were returned to the AHL. And when recalls were once again necessitated by various ailments - this time staggered, rather than all at once - they were scratched.

Paul Byron is the only injured forward at the moment; without him, and with Curtis Glencross traded, the Flames are down to 11 of their regulars. However, Drew Shore has now played enough NHL games that he would require waivers if he were to be demoted; waivers he, in all likelihood, would not clear. He's also ineligible to play for Adirondack in the playoffs, should they make them. So Shore essentially replaces Glencross.

That's 12 forwards, but the Flames like to have two extras, so two of their four post-trade deadline recalls have been spent on Michael Ferland and Emile Poirier.

There are a few problems here. First, Shore has, for whatever reason, been scratched for two of the Flames' most recent four games. But whatever, that's relatively minor. Second, Ferland is, more often than not, playing sub-10 minute games during this recall stint. But again, whatever, that's relatively minor.

Here's the major problem: Poirier has been scratched for six straight games. It has been almost two weeks since he last played.


It's one thing if he isn't yet NHL-ready. That is, in all likelihood, true. If he's in a Tyler Wotherspoon situation, then at best, right now he's at least getting an NHL paycheque and practicing with an NHL team.

If we accept Poirier's practicing as doing as much for his development as playing, then there's still another problem with his situation.

Two weeks without playing... as his AHL team fights for a playoff spot.

With Shore pretty much officially graduated, Poirier is Adirondack's highest scorer. The Adirondack Flames are currently ninth in the west, two points back of a playoff spot with three games in hand. They aren't guaranteed to make it, but they aren't guaranteed to miss, either. Joni Ortio's injury really complicates things for them, but fact is, Adirondack is right on the playoff bubble.

They're without their starting goalie thanks to circumstances beyond anyone's control.

They're without their leading scorer because he's been busy twiddling his thumbs in an NHL pressbox instead.

The Flames wanted two extra forwards, so they picked them; fine. What was the plan here, exactly, then? Did Brad Treliving and Bob Hartley leave the trade deadline expecting a sacrificial lamb for insurance, or has it just kind of played out that way? If it has, why has Hartley allowed it to go on? Why not at least alternate Ferland and Poirier so both play? It's not even 10 minutes a game each.

The Flames blew one of their four remaining recalls to take their farm team's leading scorer from them in the midst of a playoff push, only to sit him. In what world does that kind of asset management make sense?

This exact move is why Brian McGrattan never should have been waived. The only real meaningful contribution he had left in him was to be a good guy in the room, but not actually play. He would effectively take one of the pressbox spots so a kid could play, whether it be in the AHL or NHL.

Instead, Poirier has fallen victim to the numbers game in a move that benefits literally nobody, and actually hurts several.