Evan Bouchard’s first goal in the NHL comes against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Not bad.
The young defenseman scored his first career NHL goal on the power play Thursday evening against the Washington Capitals. He’s the youngest defenseman in Oilers history to score a goal.
Bouchard, who turned 19 last Saturday, unleashed a snap shot from the point to open the scoring during the first period of Thursday’s game at Rogers Place:
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 26, 2018
There appeared to be a solid screen in front of the Washington netminder, but that’s still a greatly placed shot from Bouchard. Holtby was trying to look through the traffic as Bouchard beat him over the shoulder with a bullet.
The milestone comes after coach Todd McLellan sang his praise on Wednesday:
“I thought he’s had some really strong moments in games, where he looks really poised and makes tremendous passes,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Sun before Thursday’s game. “He’s learning lessons, like a lot of 19-year-old defenseman do in the league when they enter. Nick Lidstrom, Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns were all 19 in the league at one point. So some really good stuff from Evan, some stuff he needs to work on, but he’s getting that information. He’s a pretty good student, he works on things he needs to.”
The young Edmonton blueliner is certainly making it difficult on the Oilers to send him back to junior. This is Bouchard’s seventh game in the NHL and there’s a lethal London Knights team waiting for him in the OHL if Edmonton decides to send him down. He can skate in nine games with the Oilers before he burns a year on his entry-level contract.
Through seven games with the Oilers this season, Bouchard is sporting a minus-5 rating while averaging around 13 minutes of ice time. He’s still in search of his first assist.
No matter what the Oilers decide to do with Bouchard, it’s great to see him get his first with the big club.