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Benoit Pouliot Playing for Sixth NHL Team in Six Years

The Edmonton Oilers have decided that Benoit Pouliot the No. 4 pick overall in the NHL Draft of 2005 is finally realizing his potential.

Pouliot will play this season for Edmonton, which is his sixth team in the past six seasons.

Despite the travels of Pouliot, Edmonton saw sufficient talent in the right winger to offer a $20 million, five-year deal during the offseason, hoping the 27-year old could fill a big void on their roster.

Pouliot played will down the stretch for the New York Rangers last season in the Rangers loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals.

His play late in the season made him a good free agent opportunity for the Oilers who wanted to add size to their front line.

Craig MacTavish the general manager of the Oilers said it was all about work ethic. The GM said Pouliot is an excellent skater who can close gaps and can get to forechecks quickly, which was sorely lacking for the club last season.

When Pouliot came into the league, he was touted highly for his offense, scoring 65 points, including 35 goals in just 51 games during his last season in junior hockey.

Minnesota took him in the draft and he was expected to be a first line player in the NHL.

Pouliot however, struggled while in Minnesota in parts of four seasons before moving on to Montreal during the 2009-10 season. Following a year and a half with the Canadians, he went to the Bruins, the Lightning and the Rangers, prior to signing with Edmonton.

Pouliot said that over the last three seasons, things have become positive and his game has gotten much better.

He called all the hard work he has done the past few years worth it since it has paid him dividends.

He added that he is bigger and more physical that some players and he wants to do what his coach asks of him.

Edmonton wants Pouliot to create physical presence for them in the top half of the lineup. They also want additional scoring for the offense out of the winger.

Edmonton is hoping Pouliot can eventually grow to be the offensive player most expected he would be when he left junior hockey.

Last season for the Rangers, was the most productive for Pouliot in his career with 36 points, including 15 goals in 80 games during the regular season.

He scored 10 points, including 5 goals in the 25 Rangers playoff games.

MacTavish said most players grow through experience and usually catch up with all the expectation, as very few arrive with it.

The Oilers GM believes Pouliot is coming closer to his expectation and hopes the player has even more growth going forward.

Scoring, said MacTavish is secondary as long has he is providing the group with energy and strong physical play.

The Oilers finished last in the Western Conference last season at 29-44-9 and just 67 points. The team is hoping to turn that around and battle for one of the top 8 spots to reach the postseason.

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