Despite all of the rumours about their pick being in play, the Edmonton Oilers stepped up to the podium and used their 10th overall pick to select puck-moving defenceman Evan Bouchard from the London Knights.
After weeks of speculating about what would happen with the Oilers first rounder, we finally found out the answer as Peter Chiarelli walked up to the microphone and drafted Evan Bouchard with the 10th overall pick. I don’t think many of us would have expected him to be there when the Oilers pick rolled around, but I’m pretty excited that he was there when it came time to make a choice. Bouchard is a puck-moving defenceman that put up points like crazy for London last season, and he’s the exact type of player that the Oilers were looking to add.
Considering the abundance of defencemen that were ranked in the Top 15, it’s not exactly surprising that the Oilers ended up with one of them. For me, it wasn’t so much about whether or not they would draft a d-man but rather who would they take. That said, I certainly didn’t expect Bouchard to still be around. Now that he’s in the mix, the Oilers finally have a skilled defender in their stable that will help them create offence from the back for potentially years to come.
In 67 games played, Bouchard put up a whopping 25 goals and 62 assists for 87 points, leading not only the Knights but also the OHL in points scored by a defender. Welcome aboard, good sir.
WHO IS EVAN BOUCHARD?
Now that we know Bouchard is our man, I wanted to dive into the Google machine to figure out exactly what we have here. We know that Bouchard is a puck moving defenceman that can put up points like crazy, but what else is there to know? Let the Internet be our guide.
Bouchard, a six-foot-two, 193-pound right shot D-man who put up 25-62-87in 67 games with the Knights this season, is a slick passer and a power play quarterback who’d check just about every box for the Oilers – not only right now but down the road. Every team wants and needs players like Bouchard, who steadily climbed scouting rankings this season.
Like I said, it might be too much to ask that Bouchard is available when the Oilers pick, but I’m going to look at three prospects over the next week or 10 days who are rated in the range of where the Oilers will select, and he’s the first. Bouchard would certainly qualify as a wish-list prospect for the Oilers, but, again, if you look at the range of how players are rated, it’s difficult to come up with a definitive top-10 list behind Rasmus Dahlin.
“Many in the industry consider Bouchard the second most pro-ready defenceman in this year’s draft; some even believe he could make an NHL lineup as soon as next season. I’m not that bullish — I think his spot on the CanucksArmy board suggests that neither are my peers — on Bouchard, but it’s easy to see why they feel so strongly about the big, right-shot rearguard.
There’s the obvious, Bouchard’s gaudy 87 points (25 goals and 52 assists) in 67 games this season. That mark was good enough for first among OHL defencemen (not just draft-eligible defenceman at that) and as Dayal pointed out in his article, the highest point total and point rate as an 18-year-old in that league since Ryan Ellis’ 89 points in the 2008-09 season.
If the shot isn’t there, Bouchard is every bit as apt as a setup man. He’s always processing the game two steps ahead of the opposition. Coupled with a crisp, accurate pass, it’s a deadly combination. You’ll hardly be surprised to find out he’s a hell of a power play quarterback as a result; or that Bouchard does a fine job of breaking the puck out of the defensive zone.”
“A highly intelligent all-around defenceman that plays with poise and can shift the pace of play in a multitude of ways. Showcases smooth four-way skating ability and loves to get involved in all situations – especially when that situation happens to be an up-ice rush. Has a polished offensive skill-set which includes well-timed passes and a sneaky, erratic shot. Goes with the high percentage play and makes smart decisions. Could work on strength behind his shot. Defensively active, cutting off lanes and always staying in excellent positioning. Reads cues well in all three zones and seems to stay a step ahead. All-in-all, a well-rounded defender with great hockey sense and work ethic.”
“A highly intelligent defenseman with exceptional vision and offensive instincts. He reads the play very well and his passing ability allows him to be a constant threat in his team’s transition game. He’s one of the top offensive defensemen in the Canadian Hockey League and magician-like when quarterbacking the power play.”
WHERE HE WAS RANKED
International Scouting Services (ISS): 6th
Craig Button of TSN: 10th
Central Scouting: 4th among NA skaters
McKeen’s Hockey: 7th
Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet: 8th
Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News: 7th
EVAN BOUCHARD’S JUNIOR CAREER SO FAR
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