The New York Rangers have shaken up their lineup after a lackluster win against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. Benoit Pouliot has officially been scratched for tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils. J.T. Miller will take Pouliot’s spot on the third line with Derick Brassard and Carl Hagelin.
This is the right move by Alain Vigneault. Besides Taylor Pyatt, Pouliot could be the Rangers’ worst forward. In 29 games this year Pouliot has only registered two goals and three assists. Lately Pouliot’s play has gotten worse and he was demoted to the fourth line for a game or two. Earlier in the season Vigneault was talking about Pouliot and said that players only get “so many kicks at the can”. He was obviously referring to the fact that Pouliot has been bounced around the NHL so much because of his inconsistent play.
I think it is time for the Rangers to cut their ties with Pouliot. It’s clear he really just isn’t a quality NHL player. He makes too many mistakes in the defensive zone and provides little offense output. After being such a high draft pick Pouliot had so much potential, but he just hasn’t lived up to those expectations. The Rangers are his fifth team since he came into the NHL, and they might be his last. It is hard to see a team taking a chance on him given his inconsistent play for so long.
The Rangers needed to shake up their lineup after such an ugly win. Scratching Pouliot is a good start and a smart decision by Vigneault.