logo

Monday Mailbag – Why doesn’t Evan Bouchard get more Norris Trophy love?

alt
Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
17 days ago
Happy Easter Monday, dear Nation Citizens, and welcome to a fresh Mailbag that’s geared up to help keep you updated on all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re discussing Corey Perry’s incredible career, matching up against the Western Conference, Evan Bouchard, and more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk , and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Mar 19, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal scored by forward Adam Henrique (19) during the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at Rogers Place.
1) Yves asks – We’ve had a few weeks with Adam Henrique, Sam Carrick, and Troy Stecher at this stage, and I wonder what everyone thinks they’re doing now that they’ve settled in?
Jason Gregor:
Henrique is what I expected. Sound defensively and can chip in offensively.
Carrick is as advertised. He has grit, and when in the lineup, he’s been fine. I like his size and physicality if they play LA or Vegas who are bigger teams.
Stecher is a good 7th defender.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Henrique isn’t making a massive impact, but I still like the move. He gives this forward group an extra layer of depth and he finds ways to contribute whether he’s on the third line or the second line. I really like that he gives Kris Knoblauch another versatile option. Carrick is fine as a fourth-line centre and gives them a right shot option. He’s been fine. I really want to see more of Troy Stetcher though, he keeps looking better with every game he plays.
Baggedmilk:
I like the way Henrique is playing tbh. He hasn’t scored at the rate we’d maybe like, but he’s pitched in with a few goals lately, and I’m hopeful his production will increase as he settles in. Carrick has been exactly what I expected. He’s tough, he hits, and he’s a solid option at 4C. Stecher battles hard, doesn’t he? I could see him working his way into some more playing time down the stretch.
Feb 21, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Corey Perry (90) celebrates after scoring a goal during the third period against the Boston Bruins at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
2) Marc asks – Corey Perry recently played his 1300th NHL game and has been a welcomed addition to the Oilers’ bottom six. What do you think Perry brings to the lineup on a nightly basis, and how do you think that will help the Oilers in the playoffs?
Jason Gregor:
He has offensive skill to chip in. Plays hard every shift and will ensure the team is emotionally invested. His experience will help them in playoffs. It can’t be overstated how much players like him calm down the room.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
The fact that he can play that pest role perfectly and still brings some scoring to the bottom six is what I like the most. He doesn’t move all that well but he still gets to the right spots and I think the Oilers really needed someone like that. A player who can be effective in limited minutes during the playoffs is really important and Perry knows how to play that role.
Baggedmilk:
I hate to say how much I’m loving him as an Edmonton Oiler. Everything that has annoyed me about him for nearly 20 years is still there, but this time around, he’s doing it for us instead of against us. It’s a very nice change, if I’m being honest. Toss in the fact that he’s chipped in with a handful of goals, and all of a sudden, the Oilers have a very important piece for their playoff push.
Mar 19, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal scored by forward Adam Henrique (19) during the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at Rogers Place.
3) Clay asks – How do you think the Oilers match up against other Western Conference teams in terms of being ready to play tougher, heavier hockey in the playoffs? Do they have enough size and jam on their roster?
Jason Gregor:
Oilers showed they can be physical in their games vs. Colorado, Winnipeg and LA. They have lots of size and grit up and down their lineup and on the backend. They shouldn’t get pushed around in any series.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Kane, Nurse, Perry, Carrick, Desharnais and Ekholm are all either play tough hockey or are very tough to play against. The other team’s best players won’t love going up against Ekholm over a seven-game series. They have more than enough grit and toughness.
Baggedmilk:
The Oilers have plenty of guys that can mix it up, so I’m not worried about it. The real question is if everyone can do so consistently without having the rest of their game take a back seat to the rough stuff.
Nov 24, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) celebrates with Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals in the second period at Capital One Arena.
4) Orange and Blue in my veins asks – Why doesn’t Bouchard get any love for the Norris Trophy? He’s currently fourth in points by a D-man and fifth in goals.
Jason Gregor:
He will get some votes but he won’t be in the top two or three. Hughes and Makar have been great. Roman Josi had been amazing down the stretch. Bouchard and Dobson will be on many ballots, just not in the top two spots.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Because of the defensive side of things. He’s still got some growing to do, although the strides he’s taken during the season have been very impressive and he should be praised for that. I think he’ll get a handful of top-five votes, but won’t finish as a finalist or anything like that.
Baggedmilk:
Bouchard is having an incredible year, but I think there are a couple of guys mentioned above that are just that half-turn better. He’ll get votes, though, for sure.
Mar 21, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) protects the puck from forward Buffalo Sabres forward Jordan Greenway (12) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
5) Sufian asks – I know his contract expires in a year, but if Leon Draisaitl signs an extension, how much do you think he’ll get? And if he doesn’t sign, do you have to trade him?
Jason Gregor:
I see him getting between $12.6m to $13.4m similar to MacKinnon and Matthews. If he doesn’t sign in summer I don’t think they have to trade him. Many pending UFAs have signed in Sept or during the season. Of course there is a risk he can leave for nothing, but it will be up to Jeff Jackson and whoever is the GM to know if he will sign or not. How they do in playoffs will likely impact his decision for sure. If they do deep or even win I think odds he stays increase. An early exit could open the door more for a trade.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
If he signs an extension this summer, I think it will be for the full eight-years and the AAV will be high enough to put him above McDavid for a season before McDavid’s extension. My best guess is eight years at $13.29m. If he doesn’t want to sign an extension, then I think you have to just run out the season and try to win the Stanley Cup in 2024-25.
I wouldn’t want to set a deadline and then move him in a deal you probably lose. I would want to give him and Connor one more shot together regardless of whether or not an extension is in place. If he leaves, then you got take that money and go sign the best free agent on the market (Rantanen is at the top of the list) but I don’t think it will come to that.
Baggedmilk:
If he’s unwilling to sign an extension you have to think about what the return could be with one year left on his deal, but I’m still hopeful that he’ll happily sign an extension in the $12.5-13.5 million ballpark. Dare to dream, friends.

MAILBAG PRESENTED BY STAR MECHANICAL

Star Mechanical is Edmonton’s top plumbing and heating company. Our team of skilled professionals is committed to helping with all your plumbing and heating needs, from repairs and maintenance to installation and upgrades. With years of experience and a reputation for quality workmanship, you can trust us your local Star to get the job done. Visit us at starmechanical.ca to schedule an appointment and let us help keep your home running smoothly.

Check out these posts...