The Oilers will keep winning if Evan Bouchard produces
Evan Bouchard has been the Oilers top defenseman in the offensive zone, and he has matched his career-high in productivity in just 45 games this year. So far, the fifth-year blueliner has 43 points, 11 goals, and 32 assists, the latter already being a personal-best.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking Bouchard is only productive in the offensive zone, as he also has 61 blocks and 30 takeaways. He’s also playing top-four minutes on most nights, with 22:47 of average total ice time. Therefore, while Bouchard provides immense value in the offensive zone, he’s also pitching in more defensively than you may think.
Sure, he’s on the ice often when the Oilers allow a goal, given the on-ice save percentage of 88.9 at 5-on-5. There is room for improvement, but if his scoring prowess continues when Edmonton has the puck and if his defensive play climbs a little more, the Oilers will likely keep finding themselves in sound position to keep scoring and winning. Either way, there is no doubt that Bouchard’s performances, even if they happen to dip, will parlay into him becoming a strong candidate for the Norris Trophy.
(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)