Prior to signing a one year, $1.3M deal with the Rangers this summer, Benoit Pouliot was on his last legs in the NHL. The general consensus was that Pouliot had one final shot at a career in the league; Alain Vigneault practically said so early on in the season when he was struggling. Vigneault stuck with Pouliot, way longer than any other NHL coach probably would and the coach was rewarded for his patience. Pouliot provided sorely needed, affordable secondary scoring playing alongside Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello. There is little doubt that he should be re-signed this summer. The feeling seems to be mutual as Pouliot had the following to say at Stanley Cup Final media day:
“I really hope I can stay here. Since the beginning when I got here, I saw the organization, how guys were treated. It was top of the line. For me, it was to find a really good spot. I’ve got to say, my linemates are awesome, everyone that’s been around team. We’ve got a good group of guys, we have fun off and on the ice. I really hope I can stay.”
The situation is just right for Pouliot. He has found a coach who trusts him and talented linemates who elevate his game. Hopefully Pouliot’s desire to stay softens the negotiations process. Back in April, Pouliot’s agent mentioned that the Rangers had an in interest in re-signing him. It’s not a matter of should he stay, it’s a matter of whether or not he’s earned too great of a raise for the Rangers to afford under the salary cap.