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Pouliot eager to add to Oilers roster

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers
Photo by Getty Images.
Benoit Pouliot could not be happier to join an Edmonton Oilers team that he believes is on the rise.

“Very excited,” Pouliot, 27, said. “I think with everything that Edmonton has gone through and everything that is now going for them, I think it’s a good opportunity with the young guys and everything. I’m still in shock. I’m really, really excited and I can’t really express how much I am. I’m just really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good fit for me and I really like it.”

The Oilers agreed to terms with Pouliot on a five-year contract shortly after the free agency market opened on Tuesday. After spending the last four seasons in different cities, Pouliot was eager to make this contract more stable.

“That’s what I wanted the most, being stable somewhere and knowing where you are going the year after. One year everywhere is tough. It’s tough to get used to it when you get new coaches and new players every time. It’s not an easy job to do. Now you know what you’re going to expect in years to come so it should be a little bit easier and better for me. That’s what I wanted the most to get a longer term deal for my family and for myself and it’s going to be very good.
Photo by Getty Images.

Another factor in Pouliot’s decision to join the Oilers was his desire to return to a Canadian market.

“I played in Montreal for two years and it was awesome,” he said. “Playing for a Canadian team was one of the best experiences of my career. Now I get to go to Edmonton with all of the history, the fans, I know how the fans are and it’s going to be good. It’s going to be fun and you’re going to get a good rush every game. When you play in front of really passionate fans like that it boosts yourself, it boosts the team and it’s just a good thing for me.”

Being recruited by Oilers Captain Andrew Ference sure helps the decision process as well. Pouliot played with Ference in Boston for a season and he also has ties to newly acquired forward Teddy Purcell and winger David Perron.

“I played with Andrew Ference in Boston for a year and then you guys just got Teddy Purcell, I played with him in Tampa Bay. I know a couple of guys. I know David Perron from the summer time, I’ve skated with him a couple of times. It’s going to be good. I talked with Andrew a couple of days before today and he told me a lot of good things about Edmonton so he made my decision a little easier.”

In joining the Oilers, Pouliot brings a style of game that the club would love to have. He says his strength is going hard to the net and he wants to add size to the speedy, skilled forward group in Edmonton.

“That team is so fast,” he said. “Edmonton is known to be a fast team, a skilled team and everything. I’ll join that fast group and bring size up front. I’m not too scared of going to the net or going to the front of the net in different situations. First on the forecheck, I’ll be the one there and everything. It’s just a more powerful game, a more power forward kind of game. I really embraced it this year in New York when they gave me a chance to play that style of play. I succeeded pretty well at it and I hope to bring that to Edmonton.”

Pouliot also brings an added veteran presence to the Oilers dressing room. He was a part of this year’s Rangers squad that made it to the Stanley Cup Final as the Eastern Conference Champions. With the Rangers last season, Pouliot appeared in 80 games and registered 36 points (15-21-36) and 56 penalty minutes. He added in 10 points (5-5-10) in 25 playoff games.

He’s hoping to bring some of that winning culture to the Oilers.

“This year was great. The start was a little slow but after that we got on a roll and everything went well, personally and for the team. It was awesome. Going all the way to the Stanley Cup was an unbelievable feeling and an unbelievable accomplishment for myself and for us and now I’ve got to bring that to Edmonton.”

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