EDMONTON - Benoit Pouliot had 10 points (plus eight) for the Rangers in their run to the Stanley Cup final, but there was no money in the cupboard to resign him.
He had a collection of suitors, though — one team offered a six-year deal, one more than the Oilers signed him for (five at $20 million).
He’s back in the West after starting his NHL career with the Minnesota Wild.Pouliot played for former University of Alberta Golden Bears coach Rob Daum with the Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate as a centre, not a winger.
He’ll almost surely be the third-line left-winger behind Hall and David Perron here — a big, in-the-corners guy — and he could be as portable as Perron was last year.
“I consider myself a top-nine forward now. The past three years have been really positive. My game is better (more consistent play0," Pouliot said. "In Tampa and in Boston before New York, I was third line, second line. Different roles on the second and third lines, maybe, but you get used to it and you do the job.”
One of his biggest plays in the final was stealing the puck off Drew Doughty for a breakaway goal. He averaged 15:42 minutes on a third line.
“I really enjoyed New York, but when it comes down to free-agency, some teams have money, some don’t,” he said.
Pouliot says he did talk to New York Rangers GM Glen Sather about coming here, after the fact.
“Glen called, left a message and said ‘good luck, you’ll enjoy it.’ He said it was a good place to be. Coming from Glen, that was big. He’s a great man and treated me very well,” Pouliot said.
Playing in a Canadian hockey-mad city will be a change, but a welcome one to Pouliot.
“I did play in Montreal for two years. Loved it. Loved the pressure,” he said.
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