This past season, East Grand Forks,MN native Tucker Poolman improved on his stellar freshman season as a Fighting Hawk. He performed well as a top four defenseman who could play large minutes on special teams and at five aside play. The Winnipeg Jets prospect plays an outstanding all around game and allows his defensive partner to jump up into the play. Poolman has that ability as well.
Jets fans, that means he can be the more offensive guy say with a guy like Paul Postma anchoring the blue line. On the other hand,Poolman also has the ability to hold the point and keep plays alive with his sound positioning,hockey sense,and awareness.Two years ago,when UND was dealing with a high amount of forward injuries Poolman played forward where he could show off his high speed and physical play grinding for pucks in the corners and along the boards.
Poolman could be an offensive third-pair defenseman in two years with the Jets,or a first pair defenseman with the AHL Manitoba Moose. The former Omaha Lancers captain projects as a top four defenseman with the Jets. Tucker possesses a strong point shot which will garner him some power play time as well.
Last season Poolman improved some key stats. He was a plus 24 with 19 assists,and five goals in 40 games. He took a mere four penalty minutes. Poolman improved the plus-minus statistic by 18 through his improved positioning and through spending a full year on the blue line.
Next season, expect Poolman to get top four minutes once again. Look for Poolman to further refine his game and develop himself to jump to the NHL with the Jets the year after. Jets fans, do not despair, Tucker wanted to play one season on the same team as his brother,Colton. Colton Poolman will be an incoming freshman defenseman this year for the Fighting Hawks. While Poolman can become a free agent, we do not think he will.
Jets fans, take the example of former UND defenseman Jordan Schmaltz who waited an extra year to play on the same team as his brother Nick. Jordan still signed with the St. Louis Blues at the end of the season. Poolman can become a free agent, so look for the Jets to offer him the maximum bonus to entice him to sign after this season. In terms of talent and development, Poolman is just fine playing one more year at North Dakota where he plays and trains in an NHL-like environment.
Jets fans, after the year the Moose had where would you rather Poolman develop, defending a national championship and thriving, or playing for a new coach with a new team and new system before he has to? Brad Berry has extensive experience developing NHL defenseman. Alexander Edler, and Marc Methot are two of the everyday NHL players Berry mentored.
Next year, depending on the Jets’ contract situation, Poolman could earn a spot on the big club right out of camp. Not many NHL clubs present that type of opportunity to earn a spot in the top six right away. Assuming no major upgrades, the Jets will have that opportunity available next year.
Notes:http://www.undsports.com/pdf9/4691106.pdf (Berry’s bio is on page 17)