Though the Adirondack Flames missed the playoffs (no thanks to the Calgary team pulling all their players to cover the mass injuries), Emile Poirier put up points totals no one would scoff at; he was even named an AHL All-Star. He ended up tied for second on the team in goals - one fewer than David Wolf in four fewer games played, and tied with Garnet Hathaway in 17 fewer - and second in points, trailing Kenny Agostino by one in 12 fewer games played. Without a doubt, he was Adirondack's top offensive player.
At 6'1 and 185 lbs, he's a bit more slight than other players his height, but it works to his advantage when skating circles around them. Poirier is fast, and knows just how to use that speed, if his stats sheet is any indication (which it is). He's entering just his second professional year, and is looking to make more noise.
|Rank||Player||DOB||Draft||2014-15 team||Vote total|
||22nd overall, 2013
||Adirondack Flames (AHL), Calgary Flames (NHL)
Poirier had a pretty standard path to the NHL - midget, junior, drafted. He started in Quebec midget AAA playing for Laval-Montreal Rousseau Royal in 2010-11 and put on a good enough showing to be drafted 38th overall in the 2011 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft.
In the 2012-13 season, he was Gatineau's leading scorer, helping the team reach the second round of the playoffs. He was ranked as a top-40 prospect in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and was the second of three first round picks for the Flames (following Sean Monahan at sixth and ahead of Morgan Klimchuk at 28th).
His third, and last, season in the QMJHL saw Poirier lead Gatineau in both goals and points. The 43 goals he potted was good enough for seventh in the league. The team again reached the second round of the playoffs. He was also selected to represent the QMJHL in the Subway Series against Russia.
Thanks to his December birthday, Poirier was able to make the jump to professional hockey this past season. He was crucial to Adirondack, and even ended up as an injury call up for Calgary, appearing in six games and scoring his first NHL point (but not goal - we're still waiting on that front, and probably not for too long).
Strengths and weaknesses
In his own words (from the Calgary Sun): "I love to play hard. I compete, go to the net hard, and fight a little bit too. I want to bring energy."
Poirier is known as a quick skater and an offensive forward. In his previous four seasons, his shooting percentage has averaged 21.1% and has increased each season - from 13.9% to 33.3%. He's flexible and can play both right wing and centre.
What he could work on, however, is his play away from the puck. To make it in the NHL he'll need to improve his two-way play and backcheck. Adirondack coach Ryan Huska has already noticed an improvement, saying he's doing a better job at puck management and doesn't turn it over as much.
Future with the Flames
Poirier is one the best forwards the Flames have in the AHL right now, and he's looking to make a push into the NHL soon, so it's obviously worth keeping him around. He has the ability to become a top six forward in the NHL, and he's still only 20 years old, so growth is expected. This fits in well with the direction the rebuilding Flames are going. So far, the first round of the Flames' 2013 draft is looking pretty solid.
Expectations for 2015-16
With the glut of forwards on the Calgary Flames, it's hard to see Poirier putting up enough of a training camp to force his way into the NHL. He'll likely start and play most of the season in the AHL, barring any injuries in the NHL team. If there are injuries though, he could be one of the first few forwards called up, which would give Flames fans more Poirier to watch.
In the meantime, you expect him to be one of Stockton's top scorers, just as he was in Adirondack - but now, with another year of experience, he should be even better.
Earlier on the list
#25 - Ryan Culkin // #24 - Hunter Smith // #23 - Pavel Karnaukhov // #22 - Garnet Hathaway // #21 - Kenny Agostino// #20 - Mark Jankowski // #19 - Bill Arnold // #18 - Kenney Morrison // #17 - Andrew Mangiapane // T-#14 - Mason McDonald // T-#14 - Brandon Hickey // T-#14 - Rasmus Andersson // #13 - Tyler Wotherspoon // #12 - Oliver Kylington // #11 - Morgan Klimchuk // #10 - Markus Granlund // #9 - Drew Shore // #8 - Joni Ortio // #7 - Micheal Ferland