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Poirier hoping to make his NHL debut sooner than later

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

I grew as a player. And I want to continue to get better.Emile Poirier on his 2012-13 season

NEWARK, NJ – Emile Poirier had a bit of an inkling that the Calgary Flames were interested in him but that didn't diminish the elation and shock over being selected 22nd overall.

“It was so good to hear my name,” he told “When they went up there and I was called, it was just unbelievable. No words.”

Poirier had several meetings with the team over the last couple of the months and was able to get a good handle on what the organization was about. He is absolutely thrilled to be able to join a team he felt a connection with in his scouting interviews.

“It went very well with the Flames. I went to Calgary for a few days to see all the people, the rink. It’s a great organization there so I’m very happy.”

The Montreal, QC native has spent the last two seasons with the Gatineau Olympiques. In his first year with the team, he scored 15 goals and posted 40 points through 67 games. In 2012-13, he blew past his previous highs with 32 goals and 70 points in 65 games. Poirier led the Olympiques in scoring last year, tallying nine more goals and 16 points than the runner-ups. He also added a physical edge to his play, collecting 101 PIM’s this past season.

“I grew as a player,” he stated. “And I want to continue to get better.”

Red Line Report called Poirier their favourite sleeper in the entire 2013 NHL Draft thanks to his rapid development over the course of the 2012-13 campaign. Comparing him to Erik Cole, Red Line Report lauded the forward for his offensive imagination, vision, puck handling and skating. They noted how his coaches threw him out in any situation and wouldn’t hesitate to let him log major minutes on a nightly basis.

When asked to describe himself, he agreed with Red Line’s overall assessment.

“I like to compete, play hard, be an offensive guy, go to the net with a lot of speed, and I’m a two-way player.

“I’m not that pretty of a skater but my speed is a big part of my game.”

The Flames were extremely high on Poirier's skating ability and his quickness saw him rise up the scouts list all year.

"We call him a hockey skater because he's got an incredible quickness and power right off the hop," Director of Amateur Scouting Tod Button noted. "He's got a powerful first step. When you're playing hockey, a lot of the skating is not length of the ice, it's more about what happens in short areas and he does have that."

Poirier was 79th overall in the ISS' final rankings and the NHL's Central Scouting Service had him 39th amongst North American skaters so selecting him at 22 raised some eyebrows. Those rankings, however, are arbitrary for Button and every Flames scout that saw Poirier were thoroughly impressed.

"I can't speak for what other people see," Button said. "We only go by our own list and what we're doing. We like the kid. He scored 30 goals on a team with not a lot of offensive support. He's got some drive. He's a feisty player. He's got size. He can play either wing. He's versatile."

The 18 year-old is aware that the Flames will be giving rookies every opportunity to make the club out of training camp this year and he plans on spending the summer preparing for his attempt at cracking the roster in the fall.

“I know the situation of the Flames and I’ll be ready for that. I’ll train hard and work on things I’m hoping to work on.

“I’m not that far. I can’t tell you a year but I’ll do anything – I want to (get there quickly).”

Given his progression over the past couple years, we would put our money on him making his NHL debut sooner than later.

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