The American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros have signed Benoit Pouliot, the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, to an amateur tryout contract, the team announced Friday.
The 19-year-old left winger is expected to be available for the Aeros’ upcoming West Division Final series against either Milwaukee or Iowa.
"Benoit is coming to Houston to begin his adjustment to the pro game," Aeros general manager/Minnesota Wild assistant general manager Tom Lynn said. "This will give him a great foundation for next year, as well as provide the Aeros with additional skill and forward depth for their playoff run."
Pouliot posted 65 points (35 goals, 30 assists) and 141 penalty minutes in just 51 games for Sudbury of the Ontario Hockey League this season, while adding a team-high 11 points (8g, 3a) in eight postseason contests. The 6-foot-3, 188-pound native of Alfred, Ont., put up 134 points (66g, 68a) and 253 penalty minutes in 124 games in two-plus seasons with Sudbury.
Minnesota took Pouliot with the No. 4 overall pick in 2005. He ranked second among all North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting final rankings.
He becomes the fifth Wild first-rounder to play with the Aeros, joining Mikko Koivu (2001), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (2002), Brent Burns (2003) and A.J. Thelen (2004).
Pouliot will join fellow 2005 first-rounders Bobby Ryan (2nd, Portland), Marc Staal (12th, Hartford), Ryan O’Marra (15th, Bridgeport), Jakub Kindl (19th, Grand Rapids) and Matt Lashoff (22nd, Providence) in the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs.