LA Kings: Jérémie Poirier will be a defensive project in NHL draft

With one of their three second-round picks, the LA Kings should consider Jeremie Poirier, whose offensive is outstanding but needs some work defensively.

Between now and the NHL Draft, the LA Kings brass will have to consider whether they prefer taking Quinton Byfield or Tim Stutzle with the second overall pick. Byfield is one of the youngest 18-year-old’s in this class, and he tallied 32 goals with 50 assists for 82 points in 45 games for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL last year. At 6-foot-4, 214 pounds, he’s massive for a kid his age, and he skates much quicker than most would anticipate.

As for Stuztle, he tallied seven goals with 27 assists for 34 points in 41 games for Adler Mannheim this past season. He’s drawn comparisons to Patrick Kane, so the Kings will still come away with a heckuva offensive player that can be the face of the franchise for the next decade.

But when the first round comes to a close, the Kings will need to shift their attention to the blue line where the talent at the NHL level and in the prospect pool is not as deep. Guys like Tobias Bjornfot, Mikey Anderson, and Kale Clague all expect to get long looks like this season, but nothing is ever guaranteed. It will be critical for LA to stock up on defenders as much as possible.

Enter Jeremie Poirier.

Measurements

  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 190 pounds
  • Age: 18
  • Shot: L

Rankings

  • #28 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
  • #35 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
  • #21 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
  • #52 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
  • #18 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
  • #31 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
  • #33 by TSN/McKenzie

Production

Breakdown

Poirier finished second in the QMJHL among defensemen with 53 points. Five of his 20 goals came on the man advantage. Not only does he have the ability to quarterback the powerplay, but he features some of the best stickhandling from the blue line in this class. Poirier plays a complete 200-foot game, often leading the rush through the neutral zone.

Sometimes, his feet are quicker than his hands, and he can lose control of the puck, but that should improve with good coaching. Poirier has such good vision and exhibits the ability to sidestep a defender, buying himself more time for a one-timer toward the top corner of the net.

Defensively, he uses all of his 6-foot-1 frame to knock forwards to the ground or using his stick to frustrate his adversary, jarring the puck free. The big knock on Poirier is that he overcommits himself to the offense so much that the defensive zone is vulnerable to opposing rushes.

The Kings will have to ask themselves if his offensive capabilities outweigh his defensive liabilities, or if they see something they can correct in Poirier’s game to make him a complete player.

Quotables

“For as much good that Poirier brings in the offensive zone, the bad that he brings to the ice in his own zone seemed to grow as the year wore on. His consistency in the defensive zone was suboptimal at best at times and that fact has caused him to fall on many draft boards. Once considered the second-best defender in this draft, his offensive upside still could make that a reality but the likelihood that he reaches those heights has diminished. He has the vision, playmaking ability, and offensive creativity to cement himself as a threat to create offense whenever he touches the ice.” – DobberProspects

Pro Comparison

P.K. Subban (NHL.com)

Video

There’s no doubt the talent is there, as Poirier is doing Poirier-like things for the Sea Dogs in preseason already.

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