Today’s Pilot Logbook entry looks at rookie defenseman Tucker Poolman who got a small taste of NHL action this season as the Jets tried to navigate through a series of injuries to core players but could be a bigger part of the team’s plans going forward.
#3 – RH DEFENSE
6’2″ / 198 lbs / Age: 25
Current Contract Status: Pending RFA – Arbitration Eligible
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PLAYER’S SEASON IN REVIEW
You could forgive Poolman if he told you he felt a lot like a yo-yo this season.
Poolman split his time between the AHL Moose and NHL Jets mostly out of necessity from multiple injuries suffered by Jets defensemen through the season. The Jets kept Poolman on the main roster to start the season and he made his NHL debut in Edmonton on October 9 as he filled in for a dinged up Dustin Byfuglien. He played a few games for the Jets in October before being sent down to the Moose by the end of the month, only to see his number get called in December as an injury replacement for Tobias Enstrom.
It was in that next stretch of games where he scored his first NHL goal.
He was then sent back down to the Moose back in January but called up yet again at the end of the month for a brief two game injury fill-in stint only to be sent back down, only to be called right back up in March to again fill in for an injured Tobias Enstrom.
Poolman did well to persevere from the uncertainty of where he’d play on almost a monthly basis – just finding a place to play hockey has been a theme at times for the kid tabbed as a “late bloomer” – when he wasn’t busy being an injury fill-in or waiting in a press box on standby for the next Jets injury, he did manage to get 17 games in with the Manitoba Moose where he picked up one goal and nine assists.
The Jets kept Poolman up on the main roster as the playoffs began as an extra and it didn’t take long for him to continue his role as Jets designated injury defenseman when he drew into the lineup for games three and four of the Jets first round series against the Minnesota Wild to fill in for an injured Tyler Myers. Again he showed an ability to be a reliable defenseman who is responsible with the puck. It was the only two games he played in the post-season and some argued if it wouldn’t have been better for him to play for the Moose during their playoff run, but the Jets clearly saw Poolman as someone who could fill in if needed in an injury situation.
With Trouba, Myers and Bufuglien all on the right side of the defense, it will continue to remain a struggle for Poolman to be a regular in the Jets lineup and of all the players that would benefit from a trade of Myers (or perish the thought, Trouba) it would be Tucker. With the pending departure of Enstrom, Poolman is possibly a player who could fill that role on the third defensive pairing of a steady, reliable defenseman who won’t put up a ton of numbers, but also won’t be seen giving away pucks repeatedly or missing coverage assignments. The Jets will likely sign him to a one or maybe two year deal at the most and it will be on Poolman to prove he should be more of an NHL regular this fall.