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Scouting the 2019 NHL Draft: Samuel Poulin is the power forward the Bolts are looking for

There’s a lot to like about the NHL legacy from Quebec

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The 2019 NHL Draft lacks a plethora of large, pure-scoring wingers, but Samuel Poulin is one of them. The son of former NHLer Patrick, Poulin led the Sherbrooke Phoenix in scoring in the regular season with 76 points in 67 games, 17 more points than his next teammate. Poulin’s emergence as a dominant offensive producer this season was a large reason for Sherbrooke’s surprising playoff berth. He continued his point production in the playoffs, adding 14 more points (eight of which were goals) in ten games as the Phoenix were eliminated in the second round.

Poulin may have only turned 18 in February, but he’s had the stature of an NHL player for quite some time now. The 6’2”, 207 pound left-wing isn’t just a large body, though. Poulin is an underrated playmaker with quick hands, boasts a lethal, NHL-calibre shot, and can do a lot of damage off of the rush. Poulin can beat goalies with his forehand or backhand, and his one-timer is deadly.

Defensively, he uses his body to protect the puck, force opponents to the outside, and win puck battles along the boards. His long stick allows him to create turnovers and intercept passes. Poulin’s success is largely built on his extremely high hockey IQ and vision. He has impressive finesse for a player of his stature, and can find his teammates with passes in tight areas.

In fact, Poulin’s offensive potential would probably make him a top ten pick. His skating is the only question mark right now when projecting how much NHL success he’ll have, because it needs to improve. However, there was a salient difference in his skating this year compared to his rookie season in the Q. He became a more agile and smooth skater, which made him a more noticeable offensive threat. Poulin still needs to work on his first-step speed and acceleration, but once he gets moving, he’s incredibly difficult to stop.

Caption: From Mitch Brown’s ‘Tracking CHL Project

Now, is there a fit in Tampa Bay? Well, development aside, Poulin would be the tallest and third-heaviest Lightning forward if he were to step into the Bolts lineup today. The Lightning have proven they can have success without needing to ice a lineup of giants, but Poulin has the potential to fill a size gap that no current Bolts forward can.

Although skating is one of the most important indicators of a prospect’s success in the NHL, Poulin’s already made strides to improve upon the only real weakness of his game. There’s no denying his talents offensively, but the Lightning should be enticed by his defensive abilities too, namely his effectiveness and willingness to make a positive impact in his own end.

Other Scouting Reports:

Corey Pronman:

Poulin, the 2017 second-overall pick in the QMJHL draft, was a good junior player the past two years and got better as the season went along and in the postseason. He’s a smart and competitive winger. He’s very intelligent, flashing high-end vision and tending to make good decisions with the puck. As the season went along he showed more consistent playmaking and overall dynamic elements. He’s got some soft skill, but he’s more of a distributor than an individual creator. He’s got very good hands in tight and scored several nifty goals.

Scott Wheeler:

Poulin, taken second-overall in the 2017 QMJHL draft, has progressed well ever since without really taking huge leaps. Given the talent level that was already there, though, that has produced a darn good player. He’s a lot to handle along the wall, is willing to go to the net with that power by dropping his shoulder and using one hand on his stick to force his way to the crease (or the slot) and has what has always been some sneaky-good passing skills that can surprise defenders who expect him to drive the net for a scoring chance, only to find the trailer. That versatility will translate well to the pro game.

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