Pouliot looks to prove himself

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

In Springfield, Marc Pouliot dominates.

He's one of the go-to guys in the Falcons lineup, playing on the power play, killing penalties and skating on the top line. He could probably drive the team bus if required.

"Things were going pretty well for me there lately," Pouliot said. "As a team we've been up and down, but I was playing a lot of minutes and it gave me a good chance to work on my game."

With the Edmonton Oilers, however, Pouliot probably wouldn't be allowed to sit in the Fanboni. He has yet to develop into the player the Oilers envisioned, having selected the Quebec City native with their first pick - 22 overall - in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

In nine games at the start of the season, Pouliot didn't register a point, prompting his demotion to the AHL.

Last season he scored four goals and added seven assists in 46 games with the Oilers.

"I think he's going through the normal developmental curve that most players follow," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "It takes three years at least.

"A lot of times you want to accelerate that and you see stretches and games where it looks like they're ready to play, but their overall game isn't strong enough to sustain it. It takes time to develop players and you have to have patience and put them in the right situations and just put them in the minors and let them play down there. They mature physically and mentally and then they'll be in a position to come up here and help you."

In Springfield, Pouliot scored 20 goals and 22 assists in 50 games. Last season he had 14 goals and 17 assists in 33 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

"I know I have to prove myself," said Pouliot, who was called up Monday as veteran Geoff Sanderson's back flared up.

"I didn't prove myself in the last two years. I learned a lot when I was down in Springfield, but I know I have to take the next step and improve on a few things."


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