This is a segment I’ll be doing for the next couple of weeks where I analyze all of our upcoming free agents and give my two cents on whether we re-sign them or let them leave for free agency. This week’s player we will be looking into is Benoit Pouliot.
Drafted 4th overall in 2005 by Minnesota, Pouliot hasn’t really developed into the player that many experts had predicted him to become, but that isn’t to say he hasn’t shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career. When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to say he wasn’t worth a top 5 pick in a draft where he came before players like Carey Price, TJ Oshie, Tuuka Rask, Anze Kopitar, and Marc Staal. Regardless of his point totals, it’s hard to deny that Benoit has top 5 skills. Look at this video of his skill from his tenure with the Boston Bruins (sorry for the Jack Edwards commentary, feel free to mute):
Its easy to see he has the skill to be a successful forward in this league, but what Pouliot has lacked thus far in his career is consistency. This season (32 points) is only the second time he has topped 30 points in a season, and with one more point he will set his career high in points. Although he struggled massively at the beginning of the season, you wouldn’t find many arguments against saying that this has been the best year as his career. He has clicked on a line with Brassard and Zuccarello, who will both undoubtedly be re-signed this year, he’s not a liability in the defensive zone, he’s good in the shootout, and he’s been great on the power play.
Pouliot has never made more than 1.8 million in his career before, and every contract since his entry level deal has been a one-year contract. Although he has had the best year of his career thus far, I don’t think he will have much room to negotiate a big deal. After all, this contract he signed with the Rangers was really one of the last chances he was getting in this league. At most, I would be okay with Sather giving him anything under 2 million per year for two years. Whether he will take a deal such as this will be completely up to him.
So, is he staying or going?
I think Benoit is going to take the smart deal here and accept whatever offer Sather throws his way. 2 years at 2 million per is more than generous for a player like him, and I think that re-signing him would be a smart move. Inking a new deal with Pouliot keeps our “2 French Guys and a Hobbit” line together and gives a valuable power play forward. Benoit Pouliot Stays.
I’ll be doing these free agency predictions every week. If you have a player on the Rangers you would like me to do next, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the words Free Agency in the subject line.