- Name: Kevin Poulin
- Evaluation Year: 2013
- Age: 23
- Undergraduate: 2010-2011
- Days Absent for 2013: 43 (coaching decision)
- Scholarship(s): (RFA) Three-years at 1.81M; 65K AHL salary; 262.5k playoff bonus; 87.5K signing bonus
- Achievements: Two playoff appearances against the Pittsburgh Penguins in relief of Evgeni Nabokov. 26:13 TOI/G, 1 GA, 1.15 GAA, 15 SA, 14 SV, .933 SV%
(as a New York Islander 2013)
- Games Played: 5
- Wins/Loses/OTL: 1, 3
- Goals Against: 13
- Goals Against Average: 3.03
- Save Percentage: .912
- Shutouts: 0
(as a Bridgeport Soundtiger 2011-2012)
- Games Played: 49
- Wins/Loses/OTL: 26, 18, 4
- Goals Against: 137
- Goals Against Average: 2.79
- Save Percentage: .912
- Shutouts: 3
NHL Grades for 2013
- Regular Season: D+
- Post-Season: D
Professor’s Comments: The talk surrounding Kevin Poulin is propelled more by a sense of potentiality rather than actuality, for the 23-year netminder has undertaken the arduous and equally stressful task of becoming a permanent fixture on an NHL team.
Safe it would be to assume that Poulin is having a somewhat emotionally taxing summer, as rumors abound regarding the New York Islanders’s interest in Jonathan Bernier and Roberto Luongo cannot bode well on his conscience. Thus, the question running through Poulin’s mind must be whether or not he’s accounted for in all of Garth Snow‘s musings and machinations.
(My theory, by the way, is that Snow’s summer reading falls somewhere between Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War and Machiavelli’s The Prince. You decide how and when he summons each respective philosopher. But I digress.)
And again, with Poulin it’s never going to be about what he did or has done thus far, per say, but much rather, the possibilities his talents can proffer once they reach maturity. Nothing can truly be garnered and assessed from Poulin’s anemic games played this past season, except, unfortunately, that the lad was quite jittery for his first start on February 24th against the Carolina Hurricanes. He gave up 3 goals on 27 shots, and looked completely overwhelmed that evening.
Fast forward to May 1st, and Poulin finds himself relieving a battered and beaten Nabokov, playing 38:09 minutes against a dominate Pittsburgh Penguins team during game one of the postseason.
On this night, Poulin would give up one tally on 11 shots, and initially looked as shaky as he did against the ‘Canes. But truth be told, in that same game, Evgeni Nabokov, the veteran keeper, was no pillar of confidence between the pipes either.
Moreover, Kevin Poulin’s numbers with Bridgeport for the 2011-2012 AHL season were quite decent, in my opinion: 48 GP, 26 W, 18 L, 4 T with 3 SO. He ended that year with a .912 SV%, and considering the lay of the land for goalies in the Islanders organization in recent years, Poulin proved resilient throughout.
But, again, anticipation and hope is all that surrounds this young prospect at present.
And if recent talks are valid, and the Isles have indeed removed themselves from the Bernier hunt, both Poulin and Islander country may rest easy (or not), and begin schematizing the apparent reality that little change will come to team chemistry this September.
Add to the aforementioned, that nothing in the recent rumor threads via Twitter and from Islander camp suggest that Poulin will return to Bridgeport, or that Nabokov isn’t the Isles go-to-guy, or that Rick DiPietro will reappear on the Island in any way, shape, or form.
Suffice to say that if Kevin Poulin truly wanted an opportunity to make headway in his professional hockey career, he must then consider the 2013-14 season as a do–or–die scenario. For if I were he, I would most certainly consider my tenure on the Islanders tenuous at best, especially if my poor performance for the 1/3 of the season I’m between the pipes costs my team a return to the post season.
For me the Islanders as a collective force will most certainly bring momentum, confidence, and resiliency, but if their goalies are weak in the process, Snow will most certainly pull the trigger on any trade involving a mid-level goalie.
Professor’s Recommendation: I say let’s not trade away or send back or stunt youth for a Jonathan Bernier (which, by the looks of it, may not happen) or a Roberto Luongo, who are equally unknown variables as Poulin, if not moreso. Let Poulin play, make his mistakes, lose his games, gain his confidence, learn from Nabby, and see what you have at the end of it all.
Next, we must all accept that the Islanders are about two years and one or two strong trades away from having the team needed to venture deep into the post season.
Just because you land a Luongo or Bernier or any points in between, means you win a Stanley Cup. Heck, it might all tank and leaving us looking up at everyone once again.
Stay the course, and temper your need for immediate gratification Internet generation. (Oh, I count myself among the aforementioned, by the way.)
Patience, young ones, for as Snow-Tzu would say:
"Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt."
Or if you cannot muster patience, then heed the wise words of Gartholomeo Machiavelli, who writes:
"Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times."
(Saw what I did there? Made a funny.)
Anyway, trust in the rebuild. Trust in the talents of John Tavares. Things will be as they are, and not as we want them to be.
Keep Poulin I say, and give youth the opportunity to find itself.