GLENDALE, AZ -- It’s been a patient road for Emile Poirier.
Netting six games as part of two separate stints with the Calgary Flames last season, the 21-year-old waited until Monday to get his next crack at the NHL.
He hopes the patience pays off.
“I was working down there to get that call and the opportunity … I was just waiting, kept working, and that’s the mindset you have to have,” said Poirier, recalled alongside fellow forwards Hunter Shinkaruk, Derek Grant and defenceman Brett Kulak as the Stockton Heat contingent airlifted into Arizona with a plethora of injuries plaguing the Flames.
“Keep working for it. I think that’s what I did.”
Now, the first round pick (No. 22) from the 2013 NHL Draft has the opportunity to leave a lasting impression.
And with another chance to showcase his wares, a more mature, comfortable Poirier is anxious.
“I’m happy about it,” said Poirier, who had 43 goals, 87 points and 129 minutes in penalties in 63 games in his final season of junior hockey with Gatineau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before turning pro last year. “I’ve got to come here and try to play my best and try to stay up as long as possible. Yeah, pretty happy. For sure I’m excited, still excited but I think I know what to do here now and I’m going to try do the most I can.”
It’s been a long wait.
And, in some categories, a tough campaign.
In 56 games with Stockton this season, Poirier has 11 goals and 28 points. Those figures are down from the 19 goals and 42 points he netted as a rookie in 55 American Hockey League games in 2014-15.
But, back in the NHL, Poirier has plenty of optimism.
Especially in his second go-round.
“I think it’s more comfortable,” he said. “You get to know those guys a little bit more, like how are they on the ice. So yeah, it’s pretty cool to play with those guys again.”
Poirier’s first six NHL games, split between February and March and a late season recall, weren’t overly fruitful. He earned one assist in his six skates.
Flames coach Bob Hartley is looking for more out of Poirier this time.
“Consistency,” Hartley said. “Emile, that’s one thing he needs to work on. Shift by shift, bringing the same intensity. Emile is still a young player but he has been in our organization for a few years and it’s time for him to step up.”
He’s got his chance.
Poirier has got the opportunity to show that with seven games remaining.
It’s his goal.
Leave a lasting impression.
“I’m more mature,” Poirier said. “I’ve got a couple of years in pro hockey so I think that’s helped to get mature in every aspect of the game, on and off the ice.”
“I think that’s my mindset, to make a good impression for the last games here.”