One month ago, Benoit Pouliot was a bum, a terrible hockey player and a bust for yet another NHL franchise. In the month of December, he has stepped up to become one of the New York Rangers‘ most reliable players.
Has he become one of their best, too? The stats certainly suggest so. In December, Pouliot has four goals and four assists with three of those tallies coming in the team’s last five games. He has earned a point in each of these games, and each of these goals came on the power play.
This is a far cry from the first two months of the season. In November, Pouliot tallied a total of one point, coming in the first game of the month. In October, he only tallied three points. Ironically, Pouliot’s total time-on-ice has diminished somewhat in December, but he has made the most of it.
Whether he is more comfortable or more confident, his improved play has kept the Rangers afloat in the playoff race. He scored another power play goal in the Rangers’ loss to the Washington Capitals Friday night. He has also limited the dumb mistakes and penalties that plagued his performance during the first two months of the season.
So has Pouliot become one of the Rangers’ best players? That is certainly debatable. What isn’t debatable is that he has found a role and a place with the Rangers, and his continued success could be key for the Rangers going forward.
As a notoriously inconsistent player throughout his career, however, how long can he keep this up? How long can he be a goal-per-game player for a struggling team? For the Rangers’ sake, they need to hope he maintains this level of play the rest of the season.