The Flames immediately assigned Poulin, who recently cleared waivers with Tampa, to the Stockton Heat of the AHL.
Some were bullish on Poulin’s opportunity to break out as a legitimate back-up goaltender this year after the Islanders re-signed him in August, but it’s wound up being a difficult year for the Montreal native.
Poulin started training camp with the New York Islanders, but the team decided to waive him send him to AHL Bridgeport. The Lightning took note and claimed him off waivers, a move that was necessitated by an injury to back-up Andrey Vasilevskiy.
But when it finally came time for Ben Bishop to get a rest in Tampa, they waived Poulin and recalled Kristers Gudlevskis to take the start instead.
With Vasilevskiy now back in the lineup and the team committed to Gudlevskis and Adam Wilcox as the goaltenders they’re developing, they were willing to give up Poulin for what may turn out to be nothing.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) November 12, 2015
Meanwhile in Calgary, the team had been carrying three goaltenders at the NHL level and coach Bob Hartley has been frustrated with all three of them. The team made a bold move and waived Karri Ramo a couple days after Hartley publicly called out his goaltenders. They assigned Ramo to the AHL, hoping that Jonas Hiller or Joni Ortio would step up and save the team from their early season troubles.
That hasn’t happened and the situation only got messier with Hiller getting injured and the team being forced to recall Ramo. Poulin hasn’t been given the opportunity and consistency it seemed he’d find back in the summer, but entering the nightmare that is the Flames goaltending carousel may give him an opportunity to step into some NHL time if the struggles continue for others. It may also give Poulin a chance for next year with both Hiller and Ramo on expiring contracts and the team clearly unhappy with their performances thus far. Ortio is their hopeful goaltender of the future, but the door is open in Calgary for goaltender willing to keep the puck out of the net.
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Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.