On the first day that NLL teams were allowed to sign unrestricted free agents, the Georgia Swarm wasted no time in making a splash, agreeing to a three-year contract with one of the league’s most respected goaltenders, Mike Poulin.
Poulin, 30, ranked fourth in the NLL in goals against average (11.46) in 2016 and helped the Calgary Roughnecks reach the West Division Finals for the fourth consecutive season. During his six-and-a-half year career with the Roughnecks, Poulin established himself as one of the league’s top goaltenders and set a Calgary team record for most minutes played (5,311:00).
“I’m at a point where winning a championship is the highest priority on my list when looking for the team that I want to be with next,” Poulin said. “I looked at the Swarm roster and the talent in place, and I felt this was the best fit for me to come in and be an impact player on a championship contending team.”
“We are very excited to add Mike Poulin to our team,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “First and foremost Mike is a great teammate and a character person who we think will fit in well with our group. We look forward to working with Mike as we continue to build the Swarm into a team that can compete for championships in the NLL.”
In 2014, Poulin posted a 12-5 record in the regular season to go along with an 11.45 GAA and .770 SV% in 942:57 minutes of action. Later that postseason, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound goalie appeared in all seven postseason contests with the Roughnecks, who advanced to the Champion’s Cup after knocking off the league’s No. 1 seeded Edmonton Rush in the West Division Finals.
“I’ve been fortunate to be on a competitive team my entire tenure with Calgary and playoff experience is something that is definitely earned,” Poulin said. “I hope I can bring this to the Georgia locker room and help us get over the hump and lead us to a championship.
“I’ve always tried to be a leader on any team I’ve been on and lead by example. Even though it’s a young team, the Swarm has very experienced players who have won Minto Cups and field championships. So age can be deceiving; Saskatchewan is a young team and they just won back-to-back championships. Despite youth, I think there’s still a great opportunity here to win and anything that I can contribute in terms of leadership or experience, I’m looking forward to it.”
With Calgary in 2012, Poulin was named the NLL’s Goaltender of the Year after leading the league with a 10-3 record, 10.27 GAA and .788 SV% (Amongst goalies with at least 750 minutes). During his 10-year NLL career with Calgary, Boston and Toronto, Poulin owns a career record of 53-39, 11.46 GAA and .763 SV%. In 22 postseason contests, the Kitchener, Ontario native is 8-9 with an 11.22 GAA and .772 SV%.
Georgia faced Calgary twice during the 2016 season, with the Roughnecks winning both contests. Poulin collected the win in one of those games in Calgary, which featured a thrilling 12-11 finish in favor of the Roughnecks where he made the game winning save with only seconds remaining.
“Georgia has a fantastic offense and their transition is something that no other team in this league can match. There’s about six guys that can play both ends of the floor, which is something I don’t think any other team has,” Poulin said. “It will be really nice to have these guys in front of me instead of scoring on me moving forward.”