PHILADELPHIA - In just his second year in the National Hockey League, the Philadelphia Flyers looked no further than second-year forward, Dave Poulin, to succeed Bobby Clarke as captain when the future NHL Hall-of-Famer hung up his skates following the 1983-84 season.
When Clarke announced that he was stepping down as the Flyers general manager on Oct. 22, it seemed only natural that Poulin's name would be one of the first, along with former Flyers Ron Hextall and Pat Quinn, to possibly replace Clarke.
For now, that role belongs to Paul Holmgren, who was elevated from his role as the team's assistant general manager on an interim basis, by Flyers chairman Ed Snider and team president Peter Luukko.
Poulin spent the weekend at the Wachovia Centre, watching the Flyers and their AHL-affiliate, the Phantoms, and would prove to be an interesting addition to the team's front office.
Among the Flyers' struggles on draft day, is their inability to harvest talent from the collegiate ranks.
You have to go back to 1984 to find the last high-end, NCAA player drafted by the Flyers (Scott Mellanby with the 27th overall pick in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft), which makes Poulin an interesting candidate.
Poulin, who admittedly has been immersed in the U.S. college game for more than a decade, flatly denied a return to Philadelphia in the general manager role.
"I really don't know if I want to go back to the NHL," said Poulin, who serves as the Special Assistant to the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Athletic Development at Notre Dame.
Following a successful, 10-year career as head coach of the Notre Dame men's ice hockey team, Poulin is "happy to be back in the Notre Dame community." where his family lives just a few miles from the South Bend, IN campus.
"I have a very good position, and my twin girls (Lindsay and Taylor) are students there, and have thrived (at Notre Dame)," said Poulin.
Among Poulin's current duties are fundraising activities directed for renovations of Notre Dame's existing hockey facility in the Joyce Center Field house.
He's also doing some scouting for the NHL's Anaheim Ducks, which is what brought him to Philadelphia, following the Notre Dame-Navy football game in Annapolis, MD. "Right now, I'm doing some work for (executive vice president and general manager) Brian Burke and (senior vice president of hockey operations) Bob Murray with the Anaheim Ducks, and I'm just re-learning the (NHL) right now," explained Poulin.
"I've been away (from the NHL) for a long time, and when I was immersed in college hockey, I really didn't have an opportunity to follow (the professional game)," said Poulin.
"Right now I'm just taking a look at the league, and some of the players."
Poulin also thinks his former coach should be given the chance to do the job.
"Obviously I'm good friends with Homer (Paul Holmgren), and I think he'll do a fine job (as general manager)," said Poulin.
He disputes the rumours that have him landing in Philadelphia on a regular basis, and stated that "no one (in the Flyers organization) has contacted me, and it's not something I'm looking to do right now."
So, if not the GM role, what about Poulin as assistant general manager under Holmgren?
Poulin's ability to mine the vast talent pool of college hockey would prove invaluable to the Flyers.
"I have a few different things going on I don't know what the future will hold, and I don't know if there's a defined time to get back into something," Poulin said.
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