Sunday, January 31, 2010

Benoit Pouliot Autographed Card

Benoît Pouliot - the name's been on everyone's lips in Montréal since November 23rd (2009), when he was traded for Guillaume Latendresse, and, while Latendresse has been making his mark with the Minnesota Wild, Pouliot's been finding the back of the net with the Montréal Canadiens - a trade that has made both teams, and both men, very happy.

Pouliot was born in late September, 1986, in Alfred, Ontario, and grew yp nearby in St. Idsidore. He took the relatively long route to the OHL, by first passing through Junior B and the CJHL. In 2004-05, he was named the OHL's Rookie Of The Year after netting 67 points in 67 games for the Sudbury Wolves, and was also named to the All-Rookie Team and to the Second All Star Team. That summer, he was drafted 4th overall by the Wild, just ahead of the Habs' Carey Price (Latendresse was chosen 45th). The following season, he garnered 65 points in 55 games while winning the gold (with both Price and Latendresse) at the World Juniors. Things were looking up.

However, Pouliot was not ready to begin playing with the best players on earth in the NHL (also something that can be said for Price and Latendresse, incidentally) at age 19, so he was sent to the AHL every year before the current season. The biggest knock on him was his lack of consistency - in his first two 'seasons' in the NHL, he scored a grand total of two goals in 14 games, both in the same game.

So far, though, playing on the Habs' first line with Stanley Cup-winning veterans Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta, he has foud the twine more often than both of his linemates and seen his point production skyrocket. We'll see how long it lasts, but, for now, he's helping maintain the Canadiens in playoff contention with his strong play and terrific hands.

This is card #134 from In The Game's 2005-06 Heroes And Prospects series, showing him in his beautiful, dark Wolves jersey, entering the season after being drafted by he Wild. It is signed in thick black sharpie and was gathered by mail by a friend of mine who collects Wild players (and had two of these made). He also sent me a Brent Burns card, while I sent him a bunch of Martin Havlat cards.

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