Justin Poirier – 2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Justin Poirier

2023-24 Team: Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Date of Birth: Sep. 4, 2006
Place of Birth: Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC
Ht: 5-foot-8 Wt: 181 pounds
Shoots: R
Position: RW
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2024 first-year eligible


When it comes to scoring goals, Cole Eiserman is arguably the best option available at the 2024 NHL Draft. He broke Cole Caufield’s U.S. National Team (NTDP) scoring record with 127 goals in 116 games, then tied Caufield’s 14-goal U18 record with a nine-goal performance at the 2024 U18 World Junior Championships. There were some concerns about his overall impact, especially without the puck, but there aren’t many better options if a team needs a player to put the puck in the net.

However, Justin Poirier is in the running as the second-best scorer in this draft class. His 51 goals for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in 2023-24 not only led the Quebec Maritime Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) by a six-goal margin but was the best total from a 17-year-old since Sidney Crosby in 2004-05. In the playoffs, he was even more lethal, leading the QMJHL again with 18 goals, the highest U18 total since Jonathan Huberdeau in 2010-11, and tied for the third-highest total in league history.

Like Eiserman, Poirier is a pure goal scorer. He has a shoot-first mentality, and there are few places that he can’t score from. Several times this season, he put the puck in the net while standing on the goal line. He also generally doesn’t rely on dekes or deception to score but is incredibly accurate in his shot placement and can put a lot of power behind it without needing a long windup. Given that he’s just 5-foot-8, the power he generates in his shots is impressive. While he does tend to lean on his wrist shot, he has a good selection of shots and isn’t afraid to utilize a slap-shot or a one-timer if the opportunity presents itself.

Related: THW’s 2024 NHL Draft Guide

Poirier is also mobile, and when he has the puck on his stick, he is difficult to separate from it. His stickhandling is quick and creates space with just a few flicks of his wrist, opening up a shooting lane. Being a smaller forward, it seems like it would be easy to push him off balance, but his stance is wide, and he’s surprisingly strong for his size, giving him a huge advantage when it comes to getting through traffic in front of the net.

However, Poirier’s game has been criticized, especially for his effort without the puck. He is a capable puck carrier and can lead the play into the offensive zone, but if he’s not the one with the puck, he waits for the puck to come to him. For many players in the junior and professional ranks, this can work fine – look at how Alex Ovechkin sets up – but Poirier doesn’t have the size to fight for the puck in the corners, and if he decides that he can’t win the battle, he won’t engage.

There are also questions about Poirier’s overall effort. When he has the puck, he’s electric, pushing the play forward and looking for openings and opportunities. But, when he loses the puck or the game isn’t going his way, he tends to give up and put in only half the effort, especially as the game goes on. Even with the puck, his effort can seem suspect if he’s not invested, and there are times when a pass would better serve the team, yet he opts to shoot instead.

Poirier’s biggest weakness, however, is his skating, as his edgework lacks power, causing him to lose a lot of speed when he starts to move laterally. His speed is decent in a straight line, and he has a good first few steps, but his heavier stride limits his top-end speed. It’s not so noticeable in the QMJHL, but it will become much more pronounced at higher levels.

Justin Poirier Baie-Comeau Drakkar
Justin Poirier, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (Photo Credit: Kassandra Blais Photographie)

Despite all the perceived issues, Poirier is quickly becoming one of the most intriguing prospects out of the QMJHL. His goal-scoring ability is better than the league has seen in years, and he’s packed more muscle onto his diminutive frame than players that are four inches taller than him. When he’s on his game, there are few more impactful forwards in junior hockey, and if he can become a bit more consistent in his engagement, there’s little doubt that he could be the best scorer to come out of Quebec in years.

Other Draft Profiles

Justin Poirier – NHL Draft Projection

There’s no question that, given his strength and scoring prowess, Poirier will be highly sought after on draft day. The only concern is whether NHL teams will be willing to overlook his size. Even with the success of Caufield, there is still a size bias in the league, and players with lower upsides but bigger frames will be selected before smaller prospects with very high potential. With all that said, it’s unlikely that Poirier hears his name called in the top 64 picks, despite having the skill to be there.


“People find a lot of faults in him. Of course, he’s small, but he gets involved, he goes into the corners. He’s a good playmaker, he helps us win, he doesn’t just score.” – Raoul Boilard, Baie-Comeau Teammate (from “C’est loin d’être fini,” La Presse – 22/02/2024)

“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

“Justin Poirier keeps showcasing his high-end scoring abilities as one of the best scorers in the QMJHL this season, supported by superior offensive-zone awareness and some feistiness in his battles. He constantly finds shooting spots and range, getting himself aligned with his teammates fighting for pucks, and exploiting give-and-goes for better looks. He keeps a low stance roaming in the slot, trying to get himself forgotten and tracking the puck with his eyes like a hunter, ready to fire his deadly snapshot as soon as his teammate is able to send him the puck.” – Joey Fortin Boulay, FC Hockey


  • Strong, accurate wrist shot
  • Great puck skills
  • Strong for his size

Under Construction – Improvements to Make

  • Heavier stride and lack of edgework in skating
  • Doesn’t show consistent effort and focus
  • Shoot-first player, can miss passing opportunities

NHL Potential

Poirier is a bit of a project. Smaller players often rely on a high compete level and above-average skating to overcome their size gaps, but Poirier hasn’t developed either one at this point in his career. However, he has the hardest part of the game already locked down, and that will continue to improve as he grows. There is a good chance he doesn’t pan out, but if he does, he’ll be an excellent middle-six sniper. Whoever drafts him will need to be incredibly patient with him.

Risk – Reward Analysis

Risk- 4/5, Reward 4/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense- 8/10, Defense 6/10


  • 2021-22 QM18AAA First All-Star Team
  • 2021-22 QM18AAA Three Stars Award
  • 2023-24 Hlinka Gretzky Cup Gold Medal
  • 2023-24 QMJHL Second All-Star Team

Justin Poirier Stats


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