Oilers: Bouchard starts Hot in Playoffs

Edmonton Oilers Defenseman Evan Bouchard #75 Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Edmonton Oilers Defenseman Evan Bouchard #75 Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

After 2 games against the Los Angeles Kings, Evan Bouchard has 3 assists. Quite impressive for someone with 0 playoff experience as a full time NHL player. His defensive game has always been a bit behind, but he makes up for it in his offensive output. He has been a huge factor in keeping the Oilers close in game 1, and then helping them win game 2.

I’ve been quite hard on him all season long as I tend to be with most of the rookies or young guns on the Oilers roster, but Bouchard always seems to have an answer to any little issue I find in his game. The lost puck battles, he answers with a rush down the ice and a golden scoring opportunity. The lackluster defensive play, he answers with leadership off the ice and creates plays on the same shift to make up for his mistakes. He’s surprised me a lot in these playoffs.

Looking into his next contract, it’s fairly likely he gets a long term deal worth a lot of money. I can truly see him signing in Edmonton for 6-8 years, earning $5-6M a season. He and Nurse are 2 of the more elite D men in the NHL, so spending that much money on two players is risky, but worth it. I also believe he’d take a pay cut to stay in Edmonton and allow management to fill out the roster.

Last thing I’ve got to say, playing alongside someone like Keith is bittersweet. He learns how to be a leader off the ice, and is learning first hand from a guy that’s won multiple Stanley Cups. But, due to Keith’s age, the lack of speed is there causing Bouchard to have to bail him out on multiple occasions. If Evan Bouchard is given full time PP1 time and is paired with Nurse, I think we’ll see a version of Bouchard that the whole league will be scared of.