The season opener was a terrible game for the Edmonton Oilers as a collective, but which three players in particular stood out as duds on the night?
There’s no way to get around it – opening night was a complete tire fire for the Edmonton Oilers. They have plenty of things to work on, following the 8-1 humiliation at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks.
However, as much as the loss was a total team effort, there were still some who stood out more than others. Here is a look at three Oilers players in particular, who played like duds in Vancouver:
1) Evan Bouchard
Last season proved to be a breakout campaign for Evan Bouchard. He finally started to show true justification of why the Oilers selected him 10th overall in the 2018 draft.
However, a big part of the reason for Bouchard’s improved form last season was linked to the addition of Mattias Ekholm at the end of February. Ekholm used his experience and leadership to help nurture his teammate and improve both his confidence and performances.
Along these lines, no one felt the absence of the Swedish player more on Wednesday night. Bouchard looked lost at the defensive end of the ice.
Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft showed his faith in the 23-year-old, by giving him the most ice time among all skaters. However, he was unable to form an effective top pairing with his new running mate, Darnell Nurse.
Bouchard played his part in contributing errors towards three of the Canucks’ goals at Rogers Arena. As a result, he finished with a -3 plus/minus rating, which was tied for second-worst on the team. (Evander Kane had a -4 plus/minus rating.)
It wasn’t all terrible for the Oakville, Ontario native on the night. He displayed some of his offensive potential, with a team-leading five shots on goal and a secondary assist on the Oilers’ only score.
Overall though, Bouchard had a disappointing game versus the Canucks. While he can’t always rely on Ekholm to help him play better, the sooner the grizzled veteran is back, the better.