Free agent Benoit Pouliot’s first full season in the pros, at the age of 25 with the Montreal Canadiens, proved mostly uneventful: 30 points, 87 penalty minutes and four healthy scratches in the Habs’ seven-game first round series with the Bruins earlier this spring.
But in the 6-foot-3 left wing, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli saw a body of work good enough to sign to a reported one-year $1.1 million contract. Pouliot has struggled to live up to expectations since being picked fourth overall by Minnesota in the 2005 draft, but in Chiarelli’s eyes the 25-year-old is still young enough to coach up.
“Pouliot is a player that was drafted quite high and this would be his third team,” Chiarelli said in a conference call with the media Friday afternoon. “We like his skill, we like his size, we think he’d fit in with our team. He’s got a good shot off the wing, he’s still young, we feel he’ll develop, and we were happy to get him at that number.”
The left-shooting Pouliot is a natural fit on the left side. But Chiarelli noted that while with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves, Pouliot saw some time on the right wing, giving the Bruins another flexible winger like Rich Peverley, Jordan Caron and Brad Marchand.
Asked whether Pouliot could slide up and down the forward pairings, Chiarelli said, “Yeah, listen, he’s been a healthy scratch in Montreal. He certainly has shown flashes. He’s got to earn a spot, as will everyone else. So you know, he’s anxious to come here and to prove himself. We think he’s got a pretty good package that we can work with.”
Pouliot played in 79 games for the Montreal Canadiens in the 2010-2011 season and collected 13 goals and 17 assists to go with 87 penalty minutes.
Whitfield played in 45 games for the Providence Bruins last season, recording 18 goals and 18 assists for 36 points.
Khudobin played in 16 games with the Providence Bruins last season, posting a .920 save percentage and 2.40 GAA.