At first, unrestricted free agent Benoit Pouliot expressed that he wanted to stay with the New York Rangers — rightfully so since he was known as a former first-round bust before last season, and he still would have been known as that if it was not for Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault.
Pouliot started horribly last season with the Rangers. Not only was he not scoring, but he could not make a smart decision for his life. Pouliot was so ineffective at the start of last season that it was rumored he was about one week away from being released. However, Vigneault’s patience and confidence in him, along with the chemistry he found with linemates Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello, completely turned his season around.
It is because of Vigneault and the Rangers that Pouliot was given so many chances and eventually succeeded, which is why he wanted to stay. The key word there is ‘wanted’. According to reports, Pouliot and his agent are asking for a long-term deal for $3 million or more per season, and that 10 teams are interested in his services. So much for giving the team that saved his career a hometown discount.
With the cap the way it is, the Rangers just cannot afford to pay Pouliot, and honestly no one should pay that much for a player who has bounced around from team to team throughout his whole career before finally having a good season. Who knows if Pouliot will ever have a year like last season again.
It’s too much money for that kind of a risk. This is why if he gives no hometown discount, then the Rangers should just let Pouliot go.