Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Jeremie Poirier.
The eighth overall pick in the 2018 QMJHL Draft, Jeremie Poirier put up six goals and 15 assists for 21 points in 61 games as a QMJHL rookie. He also played for Team Canada White at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, scoring three goals and three assists for six points in five games. Poirier led all defencemen in scoring for the tournament.
Last summer, he again represented Canada. This time at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, scoring three points in five games and winning a silver medal. Poirier has really taken off in his draft season though. Playing for a rebuilding Saint John Sea Dogs team, he has been a force at the backend with 20 goals and 33 assists for 53 points in 60 games this year. He finished second in QMJHL scoring by a defenceman, trailing only his teammate and sometimes defence partner William Villeneuve. Poirier also picked up a point while playing two games for Team QMJHL in the Canada-Russia Super Series. He had another impressive showing at the CHL Top Prospects game, picking up two points in a losing cause.
Jeremie Poirier Scouting Report
Defense — shoots Left
Born June 2nd, 2002 — Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec
Height 6’1″ — Weight 196 lbs [185 cm/89 kg]
Poirier is a very good skater, and showed a big jump in this area of his game between his first and second QMJHL season. He has very good speed, a quick first step, and good acceleration in both directions. He is able to get up and down the ice with ease. His agility and edgework are very good, as are his smooth pivots. This ability to move laterally, as well as his quickness when transitioning from offence to defence and vice-versa are big assets in his game. He has good size at 6-foot-1 and 196 pounds already. The 17-year-old defender could still add muscle and become stronger though. This would help him to be more physical and in playing in front of his net and in the corners.
Poirier is a dynamic offensive defencemen. As stated, he really improved his skating this past year. He combines this with his stickhandling ability to effectively carry the puck through the neutral zone, starting and even leading the rush. Poirier is very effective at generating good zone entries and establishing possession in the offensive zone. There are some times that he tries to do a bit too much though, leading to a bad turnover and a rush against him. Poirier is also willing to join the rush and try to generate opportunities as a trailer. While this style is effective in generating a lot of points, it can leave his team vulnerable at the back as well. He will need to learn to better pick his spots.
Inside the zone, Poirier has an excellent shot. He utilizes both his slap shot and his wrist shots effectively. They are both strong and accurate. He gets his shots one the net by walking the line and creating passing lanes. He is also a good passer. Poirier can start the rush with an effective first pass, can set up teammates and quarterback the play from the point on the power play, and can also set up plays while rushing the puck. In terms of offensive ability, he really does bring a lot from the back end.
Poirier has been inconsistent defensively. There are times where he shows strong positioning and instincts in his own zone, and there are others where he looks lost. His active stick cuts down passing lanes, while Poirier is willing to use his body to block shots. His ability to retrieve dump ins and move the puck up the ice also helps reduce zone time. However, Poirier can be prone to major gaffes as well, whether it is making a brutal giveaway with a bad pass, or trying to do too much and losing the puck, it is an area of concern. These plays are what keeps him closer to the end of the first round than the top of it.
Projection and Comparison
Poirier is a real boom or bust pick. The offensive tools are all there, but the defensive gaffes he makes will also drive coaches crazy. However, it is often said that one can’t teach offensive ability and Poirier has that in spades. Whatever team drafts him will need to be patient and hope that their development group can help him find consistency in his defensive game. If that happens, the upside here is immense, but of course, it is no sure thing. Poirier’s game is reminiscent of P.K. Subban, however, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Jeremie Poirier that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Jeremie Poirier Main Photo:
HAMILTON, ON – JANUARY 16: Jeremie Poirier #54 of Team Red skates during the 2020 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game against Team White at FirstOntario Centre on January 16, 2020, in Hamilton, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)