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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Pouliot Not Qualified By Canucks, Set to Become UFA

The Canucks appear to have taken a step towards addressing their logjam on left defence, choosing not to tender an $840,000 qualifying offer to 24-year-old Derrick Pouliot.

An extension is still a possibility, with Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal noting that both parties have interest in getting a deal done nevertheless. By the looks of it, Pouliot will likely have to take a pay cut from the $800,000 he earned last year to stay with the Canucks organization.

One can assume that the selection of fellow undersized offensive defenceman Quinn Hughes impacted the decision not to retain Pouliot’s rights. Should Hughes crack the NHL roster for the upcoming season, it’s unfathomable to imagine both Pouliot and Troy Stecher also coexisting on the blueline. Stecher holds an advantage with his right-shot handedness and two-way defensive acumen, so it’s no surprise to see Pouliot on the chopping block instead.

If not this year, it’s realistic to expect the likes of Olli Juolevi and the aforementioned Hughes to surpass Pouliot on the left-handed defence depth chart — a group that already includes Alex Edler, Michael Del Zotto and Ben Hutton.

Pouliot was acquired from the Penguins last fall for Andrey Pedan and a 2018 4th round pick.

  • I’m not surprised at all. Something has to give with the backlog of D (as well as forwards). Frankly, the Nucks has the least proficient D core in the league, and room has to be made for Hughes and OJ. He was very underwhelming for me.

    • Your last point hits the mark. The Canucks not only have a backlog of defenders, they have a backlog of underwhelming defenders.

      Bring him back on a two-way lower price contract. He can play his way onto the Canucks or the Comets. It’s compete or else time, probably for everyone on the D.

    • Don’t forget they wasted a 3rd rounder on Pedan, then a 4th on Pouliot.

      So two picks gone for nothing.

      This is how Team Lemming loves them a rebuild.

      • What do you think happens to most picks? You gamble hoping they work out and most don’t. Are you happier with Cole Cassels who they let go after 3 years and is now a free agent? Pouliot and Pedan both played more than Cassels. And Cassels was signed, many later round picks don’t even get signed. If you don’t like Cassels as the example, I could come up with a lot more for the Canucks or every other team in the NHL. But thanks for complaining for the sake of complaining Freud.

          • Referring to yourself in the third person?

            And no…it’s not correct. It wasn’t a waste at all. We got Pouliot from it. That’s not a “waste” by it’s very nature.

        • yes i am happier with cassels, they drafted him and it didnt work out and they moved on.. puliot was going to be available on waivers and if not they could have used holm or weircoch in the same role. Comparing cassels to puliot is maybe the stupidest thing ever as one is a drafted player and one was an acquired player who couldnt even make a bad defense who required waivers.

          • Your point was a wasted pick on Pouliot, so comparing him to a draft pick is fair. They are all gambles, whether it is a late round pick of trading a late round pick for a project player. By your logic then, every pick that doesn’t turn out was also a wasted pick, meaning most picks every team makes are wasted picks.

      • I don’t have a big problem with this trade at the time. Green knew him well and thought he could get the best out of him. What’s the percent likelihood that a 3rd and 4th rounder plays 140 games in the NHL? Smart gamble in my books.

      • Derek Pouiliot was drafted 8th overall 2012- a pretty good price for Pedan and a 4th.
        As stated by Dhaliwal, both sides are still interested.
        Should Pouliot’s value be determined by his draft pedigree, or his actual play (6 years removed from draft)?
        Allowing his agent to determine current market value (and come back with a concrete figure) seems like a pretty standup move to me.

        Also, Mallet<Pedan<Pouliot<Hughes- is a linear progression in quality of player. Thats textbook rebuild.

      • Ha, you’re funny! Yep, Bo, Brock, Pettersson, Dahlen, JV, Lind, Gaudette, Gadjovich, Hughes, Demko, Di Pietro, Goldobin, Woo and Juolevi all suck! You have a strange grasp on reality, my friend. Perhaps your handle offers some insights….

      • This comment looks even dumber now that Pouliot re-signed. I’m sure this latest embarrassment won’t stop fraud from making more uninformed statements about Benning.

  • I don’t get the new narrative in the media (well mostly province articles so far) that it should be an issue, or is redundant to have Hughes and Stetcher both on the same team. To me, if they both get the job done, why not!? If you are worried about physicality that much, then don’t pair them together. I think we need to find effective players first, and if physicality (or lack thereof) is an issue, then address that after.

    I don’t think Pouliot was our worst D last season, and had some really good games. I would also rather see him traded for a bag of pucks then cut loose, but maybe they are looking at contract spots? It isn’t a cap move, so this one is a little confusing to me. Maybe trade his back for Pedan (big RHD) if everyone is so worried about our size and physicality on D. Faster than Guddy (and most our team), not as handsome, cheaper.

    • Hopefully a better CBA voice will pick up this thread, but my humble understanding is that the nucks are seeking to avoid arbitration rights with DP. Could makes sense if the nucks fear a binding decision based on better stats he earned on a crap team. Would he log such minutes and deployment on a competitive team, with an NHL level D corps? IMO — No, and so an unfair valuation could exist in the eyes of the CBA arbitration system.

      I’ve seen a couple other teams juggling similar situations, based on business moves announced yesterday.

      Someone please elaborate if you can. Thx

  • I think the asset (mis)management thing gets overblown for JB, but here’s one that I don’t really get. I thought Pouliot in terms of performance was uneven but overall pretty good. Certainly a lot better than Pedan, definitely worth more than a fourth round pick. Is saving a few hundred thousand dollars really worth it when we have $25 million in cap space? I think this is where I find the Canucks attitude puzzling. If you really want to instill a culture of success and some idea of a meritocracy, then be more even-handed. I think Pouliot was ok, but I don’t think he was the tire-fire of MDZ, the bare competence of Biega, or the spectacular underwhelmingness of Gudbranson. Even if all we’re doing is strengthening AHL depth I don’t really get moves like this.

    • Biega wasn’t “barely competent”. His numbers last year were better than a couple of Canucks full-time defensemen, including Pouliot’s. Green must be wondering if Biega shouldn’t play more.

      • Even if we are going by the eye-test, it is really hard to see how this argument makes any sense. I like Biega, he seems like a solid guy, but come on, he has always been about hustle and jump, not skill. If his numbers were better than other full-time D for the Canucks that’s an indictment of them, not of his skills.

        • Biega’s even-strength possession numbers were over 50%, and his even-strength goal differential was a shiny +1 (as opposed to Pouliot’s -20).

          Does it matter whether he managed that through skill or hustle?

          • I fully agree that Pouliot is not worth his draft position and that he has been passed on the depth chart by multiple players. Stecher has proven to be a far superior defender and McEneny and Chatfield are arguably better as well. The new draft picks also look better. But I’d rather take a gamble on a 24-yr-old Pouliot who might be able to reach a higher ceiling than a 30-year-old Biega whose top gear is just adequate. My point is not to advocate for Pouliot to be given a contract based on potential alone; it’s that we are currently paying more for players like Biega, MDZ, and Gudbranson who are as inconsistent and/or outright poor as him. And I’d rather take a chance on Pouliot and Gudbranson based on age and potential than the other two.

          • You referred to Biega as “barely competent”. In fact, he’s better than he’s given credit for. That was my only point. It’s not a matter of choosing Biega over Pouliot. They’re not even in competition for the same position, as few young defensemen want to be the seventh D.

    • I’m not sure the Canucks approach is the cold, pure business approach. It seems very likely Poulliot will not be on the Canucks roster next year.
      I see Poulliot as no higher than 6th on the depth chart for left D next season, even lower if any of Sauntner, Brisebois or McEneny are above him.

      This leaves his best case scenario being a one way deal for $840k or whatever more he gets through arbitration. He would then be under contract, can’t go to other teams and is buried in Utica. Poulliot wants to play in the NHL and probably believes he can find a richer contract or a better chance of making the roster on another team or in Europe. A qualifying offer from the Canucks would be in the way and Poulliot and his agent may have requested one not be made.

    • Pass it to Bulis has a great article on this topic. It outlines that Pouliot would have had arbitration rights if they qualified him. The Canucks could have been stuck paying him way to much.

        • The arbitrator does not look at just current team contract, he looks at comparables league wide. Counting stats were not bad. I am sure the Canucks knew what the arb ruling would be (ballpark) so they choose not to qualify and negotiate a deal (if Poulliot is interested). I liked him. If Hutton was not given the boat anchor contract, he would have been gone.

          It was well worth the 4th rounder for the gamble. Not ventured nothing gained.

          I still hope he is here next season.

          • ….aaaaaand ….. Pouliot is signed; 1 x $1.1M good deal. Time to trade Ben for whatever we can get (including consideration of retaining 50% if required).

  • Although I think that JB has generally done a good job, this one is a bit of a head-scratcher to me. Pouliot had a very uneven season, at times he looked really good, and other times he looked bad. I don’t understand not qualifying him – he’s got to be worth something one would think and it’s certainly not a cap issue at the 105% of existing. He could have arbitrated, but if the Canucks didn’t like that figure, they were free to walk away. Long story short, I guess they are saying he can walk, not worth $840K to us …

  • I get it and there is nothing puzzling about this. It’s about money.
    Pouliot has his asking price and management feels they can fill his position for less dollars. Juolevi,Mceny, Sautner, Brisebois,…

    • At left D, they have the leverage, although that leverage is as slim as our overall skill in the D corps. If I’m not mistaken, he can also play the right side, and saw more time there than is optimal due to injuries. I think he’s much better on the left, I hope he gets another show-me deal and they don’t push him to the right side.

      It would be interesting to see the stats for left/right, I may be confusing some of his utilization with Sbisa, who got the same treatment.

      Don’t get me wrong, neither player has been great even on their natural side, but in the name of “putting players in a position to succeed”, I don’t favour bubble guys playing out of position. Still, it may also be as simple as the fact that if you can’t play more than one position as a bubble guy, you have less utility and may be deemed expendable as a result. Bubble guys do need to be able to fill the injury holes, otherwise outplay somebody outright and take their spot.

  • Pouliot reminded me a lot of what Subban could have become. He could put up points but there were so many instances where he was absent defensively…like WTF absent. It sucks to potentially lose a young offensive defenceman but realistically, I can’t see Pouliot being more than a third pairing defenceman at this time. Hutton should be taking this as a vote of confidence and not let this opportunity pass.

    • Some of this is the natural progression in the NHL. Most players have very short careers before being replaced by the next young players trying to get into the league. I hope Juolevi and maybe Hughes can break in this year IF it the best for their development. But the left side is becoming very clogged with players. Edler, MDZ and Hutton are signed to contracts. Add Pouliot and you have all you can have on the roster. McEneny and Sautner are waiting for their chance in the minors and both look ready. I think McEneny will need to clear waivers, not sure about Sautner. In the long term (maybe starting this year), Hughes and Juolevi will hopefully be tying up the top two spots on the left side.

      I liked Pouliot at times, but thought he was not good at other times. I liked the gamble, but won’t be upset if the play of the d behind him have made him expendable.

    • Subban was one of my fave players and showed some promise … unfortunately, that’s all he is still showing. At some point, every player needs to take a solid development step and it looks like JB is simply cutting every player that’s not making progress as a prospect. It does call into question his view of vets who aren’t making progress … because Granlund (who just got a new contract) isn’t showing progress.

      • This one can be argued different ways. His offensive performance a couple of years ago was a pleasant surprise. His deployment last year changed into a shutdown role, which he did effectively, but his offensive stats predictably tumbled. It must suck as a player to be given a defensive role, knowing that players are rarely appropriately valued for it (except for the elite defensive centres),

  • Once you get past the wishful thinking the Canucks have three competent defensemen – Edler, Tanev and Stecher. Plus you can pencil in Biega as a perfect number 7. Is there competence or upside with Hutton, Gudbranson and Dal Zotto? Maybe Hutton has upside but other two can be replaced. There`s room for a young guy like Sautner or McEney. Cap Friendly lists 87 UFAs and one or two of these should be Canucks. Names like Orpik, Emelin, Sbisa, Enstrom, Cannauton, Pateryn, Morrow or De Haan, any of which would be an upgrade on Gudbranson and/or Dal Zotto.

  • I know Pouliot put up good offensive numbers in junior, but I don’t really know how he was defensively. It was one of the things that I always wondered about in the prospect profiles. They primarily focussed on the players offensive abilities while seeming to ignore the defensive abilities. The writers appeared to believe the defensive side would develop. Pouliot may be the perfect example about why a prospects entire game should be examined equally as he never gained the consistency of defensive reliability needed in the NHL.

    I’m happy with the Hughes pick, but Dobson’s size and developed 3 zone game lets me think he has the best chance at being a complete and true number 1 all situations d man. With McDavid, Crosby, Ovechkin et al on the opposing teams, every d man must learn to defend. Hughes is probably a bad example as most reports say he is good defensively, but my point still stands that every part of a players game is important. Pouliot may be a shining example of how hard it is to carve out an NHL career and how complete and developed players need to be in all aspects of their game.

  • Other players of note NOT receiving qualifying offers today: Nail Yakapov, Jordan Subban and Frank Corrado. (TheHockeyNews has a comprehensive list)

    For the Rockets fans out there Tyrell Goulbourne did receive a qualifying offer from the Flyers.

  • I hope they sign him. I think he did enough as a canuck to show that he’s worth bringing in for another extended look.

    Wouldn’t mind if they kick the tires on Yakupov as well.

    • I’m betting Yakupov goes back to Russia for a few years, plays against weaker competition and finds his confidence and passion for the game again, then returns to the NHL at ~28 and becomes a consistent 40-50 point guy for several seasons.

      Guy obviously has all the tools but got ground up in the Oilers system and never found his game again.

      • probably…but it’s not like we have much to lose and not like we don’t have the space to give him a try.

        And you could be right Goon. Wouldn’t be surprised at all if he goes to Russia.

        • I see Yakupov as the kind of player that needs to play in the top 6, a good offensive player but unable/unwilling to play in a shutdown or energy role. St Louis and Colorado tried to redeem Yakapov without success. The Canucks are well stocked with younger more promising Rwingers.

          I hope and expect the Canucks are looking closely for potential in the players around the league not given qualifying offers. I actually hope Yakapov isn’t one of them.

          • So Yakupov is basically a more expensive version of Goldobin. Might as well stick with the latter and see if his play improves this season.

  • Don’t believe Hughes is going to play in the NHL full-time this year and part of that is predicated upon the logjam of LHD.
    Pouliot and Hutton are assets to be used in trade and their value should be on display.
    Juolevi should be waiting in Utica for one of these two to be traded.
    It is the natural progression of asset management.

    • Agree, let’s let Hughes breath a bit and bring him in when he’d ready. Next year will be a tire fire. Nothing gained from bringing an 18 yo into that with the added pressure of high expectations. College or ahl would be good, with a call up at year end, depending on how he’s doing

      • what happens with an 18 year old (Hughes) if he signs and struggles in the NHL, can he be assigned to Utica or must he be placed in major junior? I know he can not return to NCAA in fact cannot even attend main camp without losing his scholarship

        • I could be wrong but I think since he didnt come through major junior he can be assigned to any league, including the ahl. You’re right that he can’t go back to college once he’s played professionally.

    • Bud I think your post is logical but it seems like that was the plan last year. The Canucks were clearly shopping Hutton and I expect would have traded Poulliot in a heartbeat for any half decent offer. How long should they stick to a plan that hasn’t worked?

      If Hughes clearly isn’t ready let him go pack to school. If he is close he will get rushed a bit and there is a rational reason to do this; selling tickets, jerseys, hope and hype. That’s the business.

      • Sure,except nobody wanted Hutton,including Green.
        Unfortunately,he was on a two year,$5.6m USD contract and Pouliot took his position.
        Hutton should show up in shape this year (and motivated) so he’s still an asset that can hopefully be utilized.
        The Canucks have enough prospects now and don’t have to rush Hughes to peddle a prospects angle .
        At least,I would hope they don’t.
        He needs to get stronger.

  • Pouliot is tough to get a handle on. He had a brilliant junior career, played for Canada and then fell by the way side in Pitt’s. Green was his junior coach as we know so does understand what’s there. Some have said his conditioning is the problem so let’s hope he has a good summer. He certainly has some offence and flashes of quality. Personally I believe he has a upside to his game and while Huttons seems to be falling back Pouliot still has some growing to do. I’d keep him, especially if the plan is to send Hughes back to college and there’s no guarantee Juolevi will make the roster

    • For me Pouliot is the perfect example of how fans and some teams even, over rate the value of prospects and draft picks. Remember when he was an “untouchable” prospect for the pens. The rumor was they wouldn’t put him into trade deals, most notably for us, the one for Kesler.

      He’s the perfect example of why trading Tanev for only one piece like a first round pick or a top prospect, would be a huge huge mistake. The over valuing of “potential” vs real talent you have right now that is producing at the NHL level and in Tanev’s case excelling.

      Way to much of chance of failure of even the best picks and prospects (short of the McDavid types) to waste good NHL level talent on unless you get multiple pieces.

  • To all the Chicken Littles saying bad asset management, blah blag blah, he was never going to make it, blah blah blah, Benning blows another one blah blah blah…because Pouliot wasn’t qualified….NEWS FLASH…he was signed to a one year, $1.1 m contract.

    • Again…it’s the typical attitude of the self loathing vancouver canucks fan. In a sport that has more failure than success, they cheer the failures to get that feeling of success for themselves. Of course they try to hide it by claiming their just being critical, but that’s total BS that anyone with half a brain can see through.

      It’s pretty awesome though when these losers shoot their mouths off only to have shoved back down their throats because they don’t even have the basic intelligence to shut their mouths for a few days to see what happens. haha…

      Now said self loathers will come and thumb this post down…which is pretty awesome in and of itself. Babies will be babies….lol.

        • awww…boo whoo…

          substance is substance. The number of posts doesn’t change that. What you should have said was….”you post so much that I don’t care about what you say.”

          If you can’t see the “substance” because of the volume of posts I make, then that’s your flaw, not mine.