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78 Days Until The Season Begins

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Zach Laing
8 months ago
Throughout the summer and into the fall, we’ll be counting down the days until the Edmonton Oilers begin their 2023-24 season with a daily trip down memory lane.
There are 78 days to go, so let’s continue the countdown with 78 taking a look at Marc-Antoine Pouliot.

A June 22nd, 2003 article from the Edmonton Journal details the Edmonton Oilers drafting Marc-Antoine Pouliot in the first round of the draft.

PLAYER COUNTDOWN PRESENTED BY BETWAY


The 2003 draft has widely considered to be one of the best of all-time, so it’s only fitting the Oilers drafted somebody who played the third-fewest games of all first-round picks.
Heading into the draft, Marc-Antoine Pouliot had been a highly touted prospect coming off a season with the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic that saw him score 25 goals and 58 points in 42 games. Playing alongside future superstar Sidney Crosby was surely a huge boon to his numbers.
Holding the 17th pick in the draft, the Oilers initially wanted to trade up to draft defenceman Dion Phaneuf, who ended up going ninth to the Calgary Flames. As things got closer to the Oilers’ pick, Zach Parise was right there on the board, but GM Kevin Lowe said “his size concerned us,” prompting the Oilers to trade back with another target in mind: Pouliot.
“He played in a tough situation where he lost 38 games in a row but he showed up to play all the time,” then vice-president Kevin Pendergast said. “He finds people when he’s got the puck and he’s a right-handed, big center, something we don’t have.”
Pouliot, meanwhile, was excited to head to a team that two years prior drafted fellow QMJHL’er Ales Hemsky.
“The Oilers have confidence in young players and they have the style to match the way I play,” Pouliot said. “I know how much they liked Ales Hemsky from our league.”
For Pouliot, however, things would never quite work out. He spent another electric year in the Q captaining the Oceanic scoring 45 goals and 114 points in 70 games making many in the market believe the Oilers struck gold.
While the offence would come for Pouliot in the American Hockey League, it would never translate to the big league. His first year of pro hockey saw him score one goal in eight games with the Oilers but saw the majority of his time spent with the Hamilton Bulldogs. There, he scored 15 goals and 45 points in 65 games in that 2005-06 season.
Heading into the 2006-07 season, Pouilot looked impressive early on in training camp, but failed to make the team out of camp.
“I’m disappointed, but it might be good for me,” he said. “[The team] said that it could be a short-term thing and that if I’m playing well they will call. It’s up to me now.”
Well, the team came calling and on November 30th, he made his season debut notching one assist in a loss to the Colorado Avalanche. But as the season rolled on and the new year entered, Pouliot just wasn’t performing. He had played 18 games scoring just two goals and three points averaging 9:13 in ice-time.
Another stint in the minors came and went with him returning in early February. After his second recall things improved. Despite just scoring two goals, he had eight points and played 15:31 per night with an even plus-minus rating. That year in the American league, however, he racked up 14 goals and 31 points in 33 games. Not bad at all.
Over the following three years, it was all too much of the same for Pouliot. He appeared in 122 games between 2007 and 2010 scoring 16 goals and 41 points with his best year not only with the Oilers, but in the NHL as a whole, being the 2008-09 season. He scored eight goals and 20 points in 63 games that season.
After the 2009-10 season, the Oilers didn’t qualify Marc-Antoine Pouliot and he hit free agency. He signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning appearing in just three NHL games with them, and was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes for a seventh-round pick that offseason. He was out of the NHL after the 2011-12 season.
Since then, Pouliot has had a great pro career playing over in Switzerland. He played for ECH Biel-Bienne in 2012-12 then the following four with HC Fribourg-Gottéron, before returning to Biel-Bienne.
In the last two years, he’s played for Genève-Servette HC and this past year won the league championship. What’s fascinating is that he isn’t the only former Oiler on that team. Linus Omark, Teemu Hartikainen and Yohaan Auvitu all played big roles on the club.

How many days are left until the Edmonton Oilers start the 2023-24 season? 78!

Can you guess who will be featured in tomorrow’s countdown?

Previous days


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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