f the Lightning's off season moves, the biggest chances are the two new wings Brad Richards will most likely work with this upcoming year: Left Wing Jan Hlavac, who has been in Europe the last few seasons, and Right Wing Michel Oullet. Oullet is the bigger story of the two as he used to play with Richards at Rimouski Oceanic on the team Richards lead to a Memorial Cup championship. Oullet played with the Penguins the last few seasons and while he's also spent time with another Rimouski Oceanic star on that team, he has not earned rave reviews.
I quoted Derek at Pensblog at the time of Oullet's signing:
I see people giving grades to players for the year and giving Ouellet one in the B range. ??? Huh? Are you kidding me?! Let’s look at the thing Ouellet can do:
Sit on the side of the net and wait for the puck
Throw one or two weak hits a game
Score while stopped
Now compare to the things he can’t do:
Get past defenders either by going around or through them
Show anything akin to agility
Skate faster than Georges Laraque
Keep up with his line mates
Take a shot that comes within a few feet of the net while moving
Do anything while moving
Take ill-timed penalties because he is standing still and watching the other players go by
Play physical (physical play is Gary Roberts, not one or two weak hits a game)
Control the puck with his stick
Take advantage of odd man rushes
I'll also quote Derek from private email that was sent between us (and Derek, if you'd like me to remove this quote, I don't mind. I personally hate having my email becoming public or published without my consent):
He was such a lightning rod for criticism up here last year, I am sure the change of venues will work out.
He just was expected to be so much more, and he never panned out. What I can say good.
He has a wicked shot. And he will clean up the trash
Now what I can say bad... I could go on for hours.
He has the defense awareness of my grandma, and his speed isn't the best.
But I have a feeling he might thrive now there for some reason.
Anyways I could go on for hours about that.
...Is it just me or does this sound vaugely like the Bradmaster himself (without the trash cleanup)? I'm serious, I've heard most of these criticisms before for Richards play... But of course, Brad has the contract and the Conn Smythe trophy to prove he can play beyond some of his limitations, he has also greatly improved his game in other areas.
Derek was also kind enough to send in some fan photoshopped images of Michel - some harsh, some simple... Some funny, some just appropriate imagery from the description Derek sent above:
And can someone PLEASE give me the correct spelling of Michel's name? I've seen Oulette, Oullet, Oullette, Oulet, Ouellett... It's starting to get annoying. I realize we'll see the correct spelling soon enough but really... It's almost like having to learn Khabibulin or Afanasenkov all over again.... But the mainstream media is as involved in the mistaken spellings as the bloggers are.