2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Justin Poirier

Justin Poirier takes part in an away game this season for the Drakkar.
RDS

The Scouting Report:

Justin Poirier is a 17-year-old right winger from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC. He most recently played for the Baie Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL, where he wrapped up a fantastic season. Poirer finished second on the Drakkar in points but led the entire QMJHL in goals with 51 over 68 games. He also was the QMJHL playoff points leader with 27 and was a big part in Baie Comeau’s run to the QMJHL finals.

Standing at only 5’8″ and 181 lbs, Poirier is a gifted goalscorer and what I would consider a legitimate sniper. I would say that he is the second-best pure goal scorer of this class, behind Cole Eiserman. He has a heavy, accurate shot both from a standstill or on the rush. He is also blessed with the hockey IQ and the ability to get into crucial areas in the opponent’s end. It’s difficult to predict exactly where Poirier will end up in the draft, but he is certainly an electrifying prospect.

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Draft Projections

Ranked #61 by Inside The Rink
Ranked #44 by Elite Prospects
Ranked #82 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Ranked #61 by Draft Prospects Hockey
Ranked #41 by DobberProspects

Conrad Jack of Inside The Rink has Justin Poirier projected at 61st overall.

Diving Deeper

Like many prospects of Poirier’s caliber, he possesses a wide range of attributes that are attractive to scouts. Let’s take a closer look at some of the attributes that make up his game.

Shot

This year, Poirier became the first 17-year-old since Sidney Crosby (in 04/05) to score 50 goals in the QMJHL, when he finished the season with 51. That stat alone is a testament to how dangerous and effective of a goalscorer Poirier is. Most of this success can be directly attributed to his shot. Poirier has an NHL-level shot which is very impressive considering his size. His wrist shot is hard and deadly accurate, but he also loves to take heavy one-timers which makes him dangerous from anywhere on the ice and especially on the powerplay. Just take a look at this clip if you are wondering how good this kid’s shot is.

“One of the youngest players in the draft, Poirier has been a point producer at every level. He just missed the 50-point mark as a rookie with the Drakkar, and could very well crack 50 goals this year. A shoot-first winger, he could serve to use his teammates a bit more, but he has top-six scoring upside.”

Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff

Puckhandling

In addition to a fantastic shot, Poirier also possesses great puck skills and puckhandling ability. He is very strong for his size and is very difficult for defenders to knock the puck off his stick. He moves very comfortably and confidently with the puck on his stick, and although he has a primarily ‘shoot first’ mentality, he can dish it to his teammates in some cases.

Poirier also has nice hands, especially in tight spaces. He is especially dangerous down low and able to create space for himself very well. If Poirier has the opportunity to bury one, he rarely misses. Check out some of the clips below that demonstrate how Poirier uses his puckhandling ability to generate high-danger scoring chances for himself.

“Still, the more I watched him the more I’ve begun to believe his goal-scoring package will carry him through the AHL and into the NHL someday. He’s got dynamic hands, a lethally quick release, shot variety (backhand, one-timer, catch-and-release, in motion, standing still), and a sixth sense for getting open and playing off of play-drivers.”

Scott Wheeler – The Athletic

Areas for Improvement

Although Poirier is a gifted goalscorer and possesses a fantastic scoring touch, some holes in his game may hold him back from reaching the next level. The first is his skating, which lacks a solid technical foundation as he takes heavy strides and doesn’t make very good use of his edges. He isn’t overtly slow or anything, I just have doubts about his skating ability at the NHL level.

The next area that is cause for concern with scouts is Poirier’s lack of compete at times, or his engagement later in games as time wears on. Typically, an undersized player would try to compensate for their size with a high motor, but there are some nights where Poirier looks a bit lackadaisical.

On-Ice Abilities

In terms of the intangibles, the first thing I wanted to highlight was his ferocity on the forecheck. Poirier forechecks hard and makes the defenseman pay for turnovers often. He is also a surprisingly strong and physical player despite his stature. His build reminds me of a player like Alex Debrincat, where he isn’t tall yet he is stocky and strong enough to hold his own against opponents. He also loves to get in the corners and battle for puck possession. Poirier also has excellent vision, he sees the ice well and knows where to be to give himself the best chances.

Prospect Potential

Poirier has the potential to be a middle-six sniper type of player who forechecks very hard and creates opportunities for himself and his teammates. I feel that if he can improve his skating, he could be an effective goalscorer in the NHL, maybe not a Rocket Richard Winner but still very respectable.

Best Potential Fit

Pittsburgh (46th) – The Penguins have a fairly depleted prospect pool, and I would imagine they would select a forward with either their 44th or 46th selection. I think Poirier makes sense for the Penguins as they need middle-six and depth scoring, and if paired with the right talent I think Poirier could do that for them.

Montreal (57th) – I like this pick for Montreal, a French Canadian sniper going to a team that lacks offensive output. They were able to iron a lot of the problems out of Cole Caufield’s game, why couldn’t they do it with Poirier?

Final Thoughts

Realistically, I think that Poirier falls in the 2nd to 3rd round range pretty comfortably. Overall, I would consider Justin Poirier to be a bit of a work in progress, and I have reservations about how his game may translate. However, I think that he has a marvelous upside, and his shot is the real deal. I think that if whoever drafts him is patient with his development, then he could be an effective NHL winger in the years to come.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Ryan Scott

Maritimer, lifelong hockey fan and Prospect Writer.

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