A video ripping apart Evan Bouchard’s defensive game has been making its way around the Internet, and I’m here to discuss it with you. I should warn you all that it’s a lengthy, 22 minute video. Thankfully you don’t need to worry because I watched it all so you don’t have to.
The video was made by Michael Farkas, and can be watched below. Michael Farkas is a writer over at The Hockey Writers, a certified USA Hockey coach, and an aspiring scout. Farkas has been breaking down the shifts of NHL prospects on his Youtube channel, and released one on Evan Bouchard back in June where he breaks down one of Bouchard’s playoff games shift by shift. Farkas doesn’t have a lot of good things to say about Evan Bouchard’s game, and spends most of the video ripping into him and discrediting his hockey sense.
I’m definitely not agreeing with everything Farkas is saying in this video. It’s obvious that he’s cherry picking all of the bad parts of Bouchard’s game. I think there are a lot of positive aspects of Bouchard’s game seen in this video that went unnoticed by Farkas, but I stand by the opinion that I’m not very qualified to deeply analyze an NHL prospect. There’s a line at the nine-minute mark of the video where Farkas says: “he throws more pucks at the net here, which is fine.” This is part of the video that discredits Michael Farkas for me. Bouchard created a very good scoring chance from this shot on net but Farkas played it off like it was nothing.
The main point he’s trying to make in this video is that Bouchard needs to improve his overall hockey sense. After watching this video, I would agree. There are many plays here where Bouchard seemed to take the lazy route. A lot of his decisions don’t seem like the logical one to take. But I can’t stress this enough: I’m typing this from my cozy leather chair behind my laptop in NationHQ with a Red Bull in front of me. Listening to Michael Farkas lean into all of Bouchard’s faults is a shock to me because he still put up 87 points last year as a defenceman and was selected 10th overall into the NHL. Bouchard’s obviously got a ton of skill that got him to where he is now, and I think what the video above is telling us is that he just needs the proper guidance and coaching to take him to the next level. Can the Oilers do the job? I hope so.
It’s also pretty easy to tear apart someone’s shifts just by looking at one game. Even though Farkas claims Bouchard has played like this since the beginning of the season, Bouchard still could have been having a rough night when this video was taken. After watching Evan Bouchard at the Billy Moores Cup a few weeks ago, it was apparent that Evan focusses a lot on his offensive game. I can definitely see the Oilers coaching staff making sure his defensive game is up to par before putting focus on his offensive skill.
So what do you guys think? Is this video a waste of time? Should we be worried? Personally, it doesn’t make me want to panic. I think it makes a lot of interesting points, but with proper coaching and instruction I can absolutely see Bouchard going on to have a successful NHL career. I’ve already put down some of Baggedmilk’s money that he’ll win the Calder this season anyways. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Bouchard’s Junior Stats