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Poirier has future in mind during QMJHL playoffs

Tuesday, 02.25.2014 / 3:00 AM
Aaron Vickers  - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs have the attention of Gatineau Olympiques standout Emile Poirier, but that doesn't mean the Calgary Flames aren't in his crosshairs too.

In the midst of a career season, Poirier has his sights set on making an impression on the Flames in the postseason because that's where the true stars shine.

"I think so far I'm satisfied [with my season], but the playoffs are coming so I need to get ready," said Poirier, who has skated primarily with Montreal Canadiens prospect Martin Reway and Ottawa Senators fifth-round pick Vincent Dunn this season. "It's the most important time of the year. I think the playoffs are where the good players show up the most.

"I think if you can show up and perform in the playoffs you're really good and you can show everyone who you are. That's what my goal is, to perform in the playoffs and help my team as far along as I can."

The Flames also are curious to see what Poirier can do in the playoffs.

"You always want to see how guys can elevate their game," said Craig Conroy, who serves as a special assistant to the general manager. "He's having an unbelievable season with goals, assists, he's putting up [penalty minutes], he's playing physical, he's fighting. He's doing everything you could ask.

"You'd love to have him come in and continue that and even raise his level come playoffs. It's always a challenge but we have nothing but good things to say. He's had an unbelievable year, and the way he's progressed and what we expect out of him, he's right there. It's nice when you have a guy that's doing so well."

In 54 games Poirier leads the team in goals (40), assists (36), points (76), shorthanded goals (eight) and shots on goal (180).

The playoffs also are an opportunity to show Calgary what they've gotten in a player taken with the 22nd pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. On New Year's Eve the Flames signed Poirier to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Poirier called it his accomplishment to date.

"I think it's great that I signed that contract," said Poirier. "It was my goal this year to have a contract with the Flames. I think I worked hard for it.

"Now it's just a contract. I need to continue working non-stop. The harder work is yet to come."

The 19-year-old got his first look of what's needed to take the next step in September at Calgary's training camp. With the opportunity to crack the Flames roster next season, Poirier will go in knowing exactly what's expected of him in his second go-round.

"I think that helped me a lot," the 6-foot-1, 185-pound forward said of his first NHL training camp. "I saw the pro guys and how it goes. I'm going to know how to deal with it and prepare for it much better than last year for sure. I'm working on it and that's my goal. I think I'm going to prepare all summer and prepare right after the season. It's going to be my goal for sure."

A spot is his for the taking.

"There are opportunities when you're in a rebuild stage like we are," Conroy said. "Don't come in with an attitude that you're going to defer to these veterans. Come in and take a spot. I think that's kind of his attitude, talking to him and seeing how he's playing this year. He's trying to show us he's doing everything he can do here and that he's ready to make the jump."

Poirier plans on doing everything he can to show he belongs.

"I think when I see that and I know the Flames have confidence in their young guys that are going to come in the next few years, that's a big thing," he said. "I'm going to train hard to arrive there in shape and give my best to make the team next year for sure."

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