Olympiques’ Poirier pouring it on

Poirier - Gatineau Olympiques

At the beginning of the season, not many draft lists had Emile Poirier as a player to watch.

A lot can change over the course of a season.

Poirier has emerged as a star with the Gatineau Olyimpuqes this year, leading the team in goals and points. The product of Montreal, QC has consistently put up points all year but exploded in November and December when he produced 28 points in 21 games. It was then that Poirier started to garner attention for the upcoming draft with his strong play.

Those two months went a long way in having him jump from relative obscurity to on the radar of every scout tasked with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

For Poirier, he has taken a big step forward from last year when he finished the year with 15 goals and 40 points in 67 games.

With a year under his belt he feels he’s playing more to his strengths and that is helping him produce more points.

“My speed and my acceleration going to the net, I use my body to go to the net. That’s probably the best thing about the way I play hockey,” said Poirier.

One of the more impressive jumps in his numbers has been his plus/minus rating. Last year he finished a minus-17. Right now he’s an even, with a month left in the regular season.

Poirier is aware that the defensive aspect of the game is an area he needs to improve on to take that next step in becoming a more complete player.

“I want to work on a lot of things,” he admitted. “My defensive play and my physical aspect are a couple of things I’d like to work on.”

Getting a chance to succeed in the playoffs is one last opportunity for players to show scouts what they are capable of before they make their final decision on them. In the case of Poirier’s Olympiques, they have been on a tear since the New Year that is going to really help their playoff seeding come the end of March.

Mirroring Poirier’s trajectory, Gatineau looked downed and destined to be a struggling organization for a second straight year. Since the New Year, les Olympiques has been on a tear.

In fact, there haven’t been to many teams playing better hockey.

“The team has improved a lot. I think we have a good group of guys and it’s good for us,” said Poirier.

Playoff seeding is particularly important in the QMJHL because they adopted the one versus 16 format, as opposed to creating matchups based on how teams faired within their own conferences. For Gatineau their strong play has helped ensure they aren’t going to face the likes of the Halifax Mooseheads or Rimouski Oceanic in the opening round of the playoffs.

It will be good not just for his team but for him if they can keep playing well and maybe win a round.

He’s already proved to scouts that he can be an offensive leader on his junior team but during the regular season but a nice run in the playoffs would only solidify Poirier as a player to watch in June’s draft.

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