As if Edmonton Oilers fans haven’t suffered enough already, we take a look at three individuals who particularly disappointed in the 4-1 loss to the Flyers.
Philadelphia might be the City of Brotherly Love, but the Edmonton Oilers didn’t feel particularly cared for on Thursday night. Mind you, they didn’t really deserve any comfort, with how they performed versus the Flyers.
The result was a 4-1 loss at the Wells Fargo Centre, thanks to an effort which looked eerily similar to the poor one given during the season opener in Vancouver. Here’s a look at three key Oilers personnel, who just didn’t perform well enough against the Flyers:
1) Evan Bouchard
Last season saw Evan Bouchard truly begin to show what he was capable of, and prove why the Oilers selected him 10th overall in the 2018 draft. He was helped by the trade for Mattias Ekholm, as he grow in confidence, which in turn resulted in stronger performances on the ice.
With a full season next to Ekholm, Bouchard was expected to be even better in 2023-24. In fact he was predicted to have a career year, including being among the NHL leaders in points for a blue-liner.
However, while the 24-year-old does have four points (all assists) through four games, the truth is he’s having a terrible season so far. Even the reassuring presence of Ekholm playing next to him has not helped, and he is tied for the worst plus/minus rating on the team, at -5.
We’ve already been here once with Bouchard as a top three dud, after he made errors on three of the Canucks’ goals in the 8-1 opening night humiliation. Unfortunately for everyone concerned, there was more of the same on Thursday night in Philadelphia.
First up, the Oakville, Ontario native had a key turnover on the Flyers’ second goal early in the second period. He gave away the puck, which set Cam Atkinson up to score.
Then, with the game still in the balance in the third period — at least theoretically, given how poorly the Oilers were playing — Bouchard made another crucial error. He just wasn’t concentrating, which allowed Atkinson to fly past him on the breakaway, to score his second goal of the night and make it 4-1.
In many ways the second Atkinson goal summed up how Bouchard has been performing so far this season, at least defensively. He just seems to be distracted and not focusing on the task at hand.
We still have a firm belief that the right-hand shot will get back on track as the 2023-24 campaign proceeds. Until then however, he’s just going to have to deal with ongoing concern and criticism.