(I’ve got to) Use My Imagination

by Lowetide

For some reason, there’s a discussion about Evan Bouchard’s NHL worthiness that marbles its way through the conversation of this blog from time to time. This no doubt has its genesis in the Oilers draft record and decades of disappointments from fans.


I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.


Bouchard was drafted in the Peter Chiarelli era when prospects were given a full three months after their selection to mature into NHL players. He is now playing in a system that ‘overcooks’ players and it’s my belief he has been NHL-ready for some time.

All of the verbal, and the math evidence, will have less value for many of you until Bouchard makes it in the NHL. It’s human nature. I can tell you there’s a mountain of evidence to suggest Bouchard is an exceptional talent, but in the back of your mind are the names Justin Schultz, Taylor Chorney and others.

Somewhere in your brain, rolling around in there with the location of your keys and the memory of that pouty brunette from your 20’s, is doubt about Bouchard. Can he make it? Why hasn’t he done it sooner? What if Tippett doesn’t believe in him and they trade Bouchard for patio lanterns?

I would suggest using your imagination. It’s sometimes difficult to see how a result will arrive, how the tumblers will click, even though a person is reasonably convinced of said result. You don’t have to know all the details of a future event, only that the odds favour it occurring short term. In this case, we are observers, we do not have the conn.


This is from the brilliant Peter Gzowski book The Game of our Lives and tells the account of young Huddy arriving with only five o’clock shadow and a dream. Early in the 1980-81 season the young man got a chance to impress and was a home run.

From this point, Price would be dealt to Pittsburgh for Pat Hughes at the trade deadline in March. Charlie Huddy–undrafted in 1979–won a spot with the Oilers and allowed them to add in an area of need. Pat Price, a first-round pick just a few years earlier, was down the line.


I have Evan Bouchard No. 1 on my latest prospect list. In that piece I use on ice goal differential to show progress as a coverage defender. Offensively, Bouchard is madness, don’t even worry about it.

By the way, I also had Bouchard as the No. 1 prospect in the winter of 2018 and in the winter of 2019. I’ve been doing a winter Top 20 Prospects since 2003, that’s the first time a player was ranked No. 1 two winters in a row. You may see that as a failure of the player, but I see it more as a victory for patience. I do think Bouchard is ready though and will ascend to the NHL.

Like you, I can’t begin to guess the circumstances.


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Congratulations are in order btw, Jeremias Lindewall signed his first pro contract yesterday, was on a junior deal before, it’s for the rest of this season and two more years. As always with swedish contracts there’s an NHL out clause, not that I think he’ll be ready to come over that soon. As mentioned he celebrated with an empty netter in yesterday’s game.

Last edited 10 months ago by SwedishPoster

Thanks SP!


All this is good info George. I don’t like it one bit, but it’s quality.

Scungilli Slushy

Name, Age, NHL games, AHL games

E Bouchard 21, 7, 54

B Rafferty 25, 2, 57

Harpers Hair

Brogan Raffery is the free space on the bingo card.

Bouchard was drafted in the top 10…Rafferty was not drafted but outperformed Bouchard last season.

If Rafferty turns into a turnip…no big deal.

If Bouchard is a dud…it’s a massive fail.

Scungilli Slushy

Of course.

Just pointing out by your own logic you can put Rafferty in the stew pot and find a new player to promote.

I’m all about efficiency.


You can also see that most successes broke the 30 NHL game barrier by their draft+2,

So the corollary to this is that we also have to worry about Broberg as an 8th ov defenseman.

Harpers Hair

Exactly why I asked the question…is Bouchard Lindholm or Pouliot?

I think that’s the range.


Thank you Ryan for increasing the number of “Recent Posts” in the list – very helpful.


Matheson with some nice inside info today:

1) we now know why Benson missed a bunch of games earlier in the season – he got Covid in mid October.

2) as we knew yesterday, Holland is actively trying to find a place in Europe for Kemp

3) they haven’t yet talked contract with Konovalov

4) four of Holloway’s teammates back in Wisconsin have Covid.


Remember Chiarelli’s words post draft? He was looking for most NHL ready defenseman.

I don’t think Bouchard’s game is perfect and his calm play can look just a little too lackadaisical. But at this point he needs NHL games to show what he can do. He has shown more than enough to earn it.

unca miltie

In my limited, (2 times) viewing of Bouchard in person last season, I saw marked change in his demeanor on the ice. I think the lackadaisical part was coached out of him. On another note, I love it that Sammy is doing well in the KHL. Based on my 2 game viewing of him last year, I worry a bit about his adjustment to the North American ice size. Again, his gap issues where much improved in my second viewing but he is back on the big ice again.

Finally Defman, if you see this I am sitting in my motor home as I write this. Flew down WestJet with no issues. The cases per 100,000 are much smaller in the Coachella Valley than in Wetaskiwin where I work.


Hope you have a great time down there. I fear my wife refuses to cross the border this winter so we are going to hang out in Calgary and maybe spend March out on the coast.

You down for the whole winter?

unca miltie

I am only here for 10 days now. Wanted to check out the motor home. Been in storage for a year. Hope to come back in early January for a couple weeks


Well it looks like LT’s point stands. There are a lot of folks who have more than a little doubt about Bouchard’s NHL chances.


The Graz99ers played and got lit up for 10 goals – no worries, Rodrigue was the back-up and I don’t think they pulled the starter – maybe a Patrick Roy moment…..

Rodrigue was the back-up but he came in and let in 7 goals on 30 shots – his numbers took a massive hit today.



I guess this means he is a starter? 😉


Does the fact Bouchard started in the AHL in his draft+2 skew the results? Most players don’t start in the AHL until draft+3.

Harpers Hair

Not true.


Unless they turn 18 between Sept 16-Dec 31 in their draft year, or drafted from a Euro league, they cannot start in the AHL until draft +3. Most players that go from junior to the AHL to start their pro career, most of them are in their draft +3 season. You used Derrick Pouliot as an example for a comparable. You mistakenly said Pouliot spent his draft +2 split between the AHL and NHL. Pouliot spent both his draft +1 and draft +2 in the WHL in Portland. He was drafted in 2012, he played 44 games in the 12-13 season for Portland and 58 games in the 13-14 season for Portland. He didn’t play in the AHL until the 14-15 season, his draft +3.

Harpers Hair

You said most.

That is not true for high draft picks.


It’s exactly as I said, most players don’t start in the AHL until draft +3, including a player your tried to claim started in the AHL in his draft +2. Draft position has nothing to do with when they are able start in the AHL.


Half truths and lies it’s his mantra. It’s how he gets off!

Harpers Hair

See below and piss off.


There is a good chance that after this season Bro and Sammie are in Bouchard’s position in being ready for NHL duty.

Bro will be 21, Samo 23. They are playing against men in quality league’s and doing well, and already are at NHL skating level and size.

Broberg just turned 19 this summer. Heading in to the 2021/22 season he’ll have just turned 20. We’ll see where we are but he’ll likely start 2021/22 in the AHL, in my opinion.

Samurukov just turned 21 this summer. Heading in to the 2021/22 season he’ll have just turned 22. He has a shot at the opning night roster, in my opinion


For those that missed it. I saw Stan Weir play hockey today. Hockey rewind against the Canadiens. Those were the days my friend…

Harpers Hair

This is excellent.

And I think the signing of Barrie gives a pretty good idea of how Holland perceives Bouchard.

Bouchard should have kicked down the door last season but didn’t.

Now the mountain is higher and, if Barrie has a great season, as is entirely possible, and re-signed, I expect Bouchard may become trade bait since there are other incoming RD prospects who will be more suited to 3RD.


Tippett had Jones & Bear to work into the line up ahead of Bouchard. Not many NHL coaches will agree to 3 rookies in one season.

Harpers Hair

Agreed but Jones and Bear easily pushed Bouchard to the back of the bus.


Closer to the end of their contracts and more experience. here was urgency to find out if there was anything worth having. If Bear had faltered Bouchard was next up.

There are things about Bouchard that may keep him from living up to his 10 OV draft number but you start with the conclusion & look for reasons to substantiate it.


Relatively random factoid (fact?).

So James Neal was -10 in 5v5 goal differential this past season. The worst Oilers forward outisde the 3rd line horror show of Sheahan, Khaira, Archibald and Russell. Lots think he is a negative value player at 5v5.

We know that James Neal played most of the early part of the season in the top 6, spending considerable time with Nuge and McDavid, then got moved down the lineup as the season progressed.

The factoid: when Neal was on the ice without any of Nuge, McDavid and Draisaitl this past season he had a 7-5 goal differential (58%GF) in about 150 minutes.

It’s a pretty small sample, and the shots were only about 46%, but scoring chances (~54%) and HD scoring chances (~51%) suggest the Oilers were playing quite decent hockey in that time.

When Neal was on the ice with one or more of Nuge, McDavid or Draisaitl the Oilers were outscored 16GF-28GA (36%GF).

Anyway, I wonder if Neal benefited a lot (and will continue to benefit) from playing weaker opposition on the 3rd or 4th line. It’s also only 150 minutes, but maybe reason for a little additional optimism about Neal and the Oilers bottom 6 this season.

Harpers Hair

James Neal also had a shooting percentage of 17% last season.

His career average is 11.9%.

Had he shot his career average last season he would have scored 13 goals instead of 19.

Don’t bet the over. 🙂


Neal had the 2nd worst 5v5 shooting percentage of his career. All of the ‘over’ last season came on the PP.

If anything Neal is due for upward regression in SH% at 5v5.

If Neal had shot his 5v5 career average he’d have scored 8 goals, which is what a borderline 2nd/3rd line forward scored last year. And in only 55 games.

Don’t be the under?

Harpers Hair

Take away that early season PP heater and you’re likely looking at a 12 goal scorer.


You literally just said above that with his career SH% he’d have scored 13 goals in 55 games this season. Taking shots on goal out of the ‘heater’ too?

13 total goals ranked within the top 180 forwards (top 6 forwards) last season by the way. And missing 16 games.

And only a fool would try to explain away his being a part of the best PP in 40 years.

If Neal can score 8-10 5v5 goals this coming season that’s a great result for any bottom 6 forward.

Harpers Hair

Jake Virtanen scored 18 goals last season with minimal PP time and he ain’t much.

Last edited 10 months ago by Harpers Hair

I’ll agree Virtanen ain’t much, but funny he scored 6PP goals with only minimal time. Maybe someone should tell Travis Green to play him more?

Since we’re talking about the Canucks, did you know only 5 Canuck forwards scored more than 7 5v5 goals last season?

Bo Horvat only had 6 in 69 games FFS, to Neal’s 5 in 55GP.

That ain’t much.

I’m glad the Oilers won’t have to rely on players like that to play in their top 6 this season.


Had he shot his career average last season he would have scored 13 goals instead of 19

Neal played 55 games last year. If he plays 82, one is right back up at 19 from your 13.


Bouchard initials are both different than victor Hedman’s though therefore he is a bust.

(Thanks for the deeper dive just saving you the bother of responding to whatever comes next unless valid)

Last edited 10 months ago by maudite
Harpers Hair

Of course Hedman didn’t play a second in the AHL which was exactly my point.


A point that is largely irrelevant to Bouchard though.

Harpers Hair

Also exactly my point.


Unfortunate news HH,

I’ve brought your last comment before the council for blog truthiness.

Upon review a unanimous decision was reached:

– Due to systemic violations of exactly and a general misconstrued approach that often shifts…You are prohibited from using the phrase “exactly my point”

Last edited 10 months ago by maudite

It’s a stupid point. Nobody has ever thought Hedman & Bouchard were comps in any way.


Of course Hedman didn’t play a second in the AHL which was exactly my point.

No one has every said Hedman is a comparable to Bouchard, so your point is irrelevant. If you are comparing Bouchard to Hedman, then you are not really going to be adding anything useful to the conversation.


No doubt in my mind he has NHL potential. I’m just hoping it is as an Oiler.


Oilers wasted high picks by not letting them really properly develop

Oilers high pick a bust because he hasn’t played enough in NHL but shows nothing but improvements as he advances up rung to point he’s good bet to force his way past qctual NHL deoth onto roster at some point.

The answer my friends is pissing in the wind.


Well, I mean, we only have 3 years of this ELC left….. time is ticking.

Bouch is right on schedule and Holland “adding the block” was 100% the right move.


LT that lime about keys and pouty brunette was a beauty.

Just brought a grin across my face and brain zipping around for the moments which lock that sentiment up as tight as I can to your intent.

Those moments are things I appreciate. Those moments are what talented pens can conjure.

Nicely done medium old fella!


wait when do i get to the pouty brunette


If you haven’t got her yet it is probably too late now.

High end arrive early is the word on the street. 😉


iunno i didn’t associate this specimen with the descriptor ‘high end’


Be careful what you wish for!😉


Bouchard will get into games this season and replace Larsson or Barrie next season.

The patience will pay off at that point; we’ll have a polished D for two years on the cheap.


There is little doubt that Bouchard will play NHL games this year.

I don’t see Tyson Barrie as any sort of impediment to Bouchard’s future on the Oilers.

Management changeover notwithstanding, Bouchard was drafted for a skill-set the team has needed for longer than most of us can remember and he has developed right on schedule and excelled at ever step along the way since drafted.

He has vested zero years of his ELC and I anticipate that contract will be a massive value contract through its term.


Samorukov is older by 6 months and much bigger, but is there much difference between what he is doing and what hyped Canadiens prospect Alexander Romanov did in the KHL?

Samorukov is even showing more offensive touch.

I suspect Samorukov will figure into the D equation sooner than we think.


Positive comments about Sammy always get a + from me. I think he pushes for a spot the season after this one.


Depending on how Jones does this season Samorukov could steal his lunch money after he returns from the KHL. The Oilers are going to have some great competition on both the left and right side D in the next couple of years.


I think he’s much closer to the NHL than Broberg and has a chance at the 2021/22 roster.


If this was 2010,with the addition of Barrie in the off-season, we would be talking about how the coach was going to convert Bouchard into a defensive dman, because that’s actually what would be happening.


Last edited 10 months ago by Munny
Harpers Hair


In the drafts from 2008 to 2018, there were 36 defensemen selected in the top 10.

Of those, only 7 played significant time in the AHL.

Dylan Mcilrath…Career minor league player (bust)

Derek Pouliot… now on his 5th NHL team

Hampus Lindholm…44 AHL games

Slater Koekkoek…AHL/NHL tweener..more AHL games than NHL

Griffin Reinhart…read it and weep (bust)

Haydn Fleury…only 132 games played in the NHL six years later.

Olli Juolevi…multiple injuries…may graduate next season. Last chance Texaco.

Evan Bouchard


Of those 7…only Lindholm has had a solid NHL Career.

Pouliot, Lindholm, Koekkoek and Reinhart were all taken in the very weak 2012 draft.

Does Bouchard belong in this cohort or is there evidence he belongs in the cohort with the immediately successful 29?

If we look at, for example, Derek Pouliot, he spent his draft #2 season split between the AHL (31 games) and the NHL (34 games).

In the AHL that season, Pouliot scored .775 P/G

Bouchard scored .666 P/G last season.

So, is Bouchard a comparable for Lindholm or is the right answer Derek Pouliot?

Last edited 10 months ago by Harpers Hair

Bouchard’s cohort is Dobson and Smith on the D side.
Wahlstrom, Dellandrea, Farrabee on the forward side.

Nobody is overwhelmingly ahead or behind at this point…well maybe Wahlstrom is behind.

Only five of the nine players drafted ahead of him are significantly ahead.

It looks to have been a below average draft class. I think in a redraft, Bouchard would still go about #10.

Last edited 10 months ago by godot10

McIlrath, Koekkoek, Reinhart, and Fleury were inferior (or much inferior) to Bouchard. Offensively, none of those guys contributed at a high level the way Bouchard has.

Reinhart and McIlrath, in particular, were defensive D even in junior. They were among the last defensive D to be drafted in the first round, never mind the top 10.

There are other problems with your analysis. You are not accounting for the gulf between top 3, for instance, and top 10. The other issue is that high drafting teams tend to have weaker depth and therefore are easier to crack.

Darnell Nurse, for instance, probably could have played in the AHL for one complete season, at least. The fact that he did was not so much an endorsement of his readiness at 20 than it was a complete lack of blue line depth.

You are correct that elite dmen tend to make the show early. But there are plenty of excellent NHL D who spent time in the AHL. Josi, Ellis, Keith, Schmidt, etc.

Harpers Hair

As you’ve identified, it often comes down to opportunity but it’s pretty tough to argue that the Oilers D last season was particularity tough to crack.

Of course, drawing an arbitrary line at 10 misses some nuance but even in Bouchard’s draft year, if you expand it to the entire first round, I think you’ll find some players charging hard behind him and you have to recognize that NCAA and European players often take a little longer to arrive because of their situations.

One example of the former is Rasmus Sandin (29th overall) who already has 28 NHL games to his credit and the latter, K’Andre Miller (22nd overall) and Jacob Bernard-Docker (26th) who had big seasons in the NCAA.

As for the difference between top 3 and top 10…a reminder than Quinn Hughes and Adam Boqvist were drafted 7th and 8th.

You examples of good D who spent time in the AHL also needs a bit of context.

Josi was trying to crack a lineup that featured Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and Ryan Ellis among others.

Schmidt was undrafted from the NCAA and played 29 games in the NHL the season after leaving school.

Duncan Keith is an example but remember he was coming up when teams favoured veterans and were very reluctant to add young players to their rosters…that has changed dramatically since his draft year 18 years ago.


I don’t know the answer to your question but I would say – and have said before here on this blog – that the changing role of dmen was largely responsible for their change in value over the past decade.

The move from clutch & grab to puck moving took time to get the pipeline moving. Smaller guys who would never have played defence in junior in 2005 only slowly started to view that position as desireable and as a couple succeeded more followed.

The pipeline has been full now for a couple of years but for most of the decade you mention young dmen who could skate and move the puck were in short supply and rushed into the NHL on more than one team – especially those choosing in the top ten.

I expect that trend to slow as most teams have now filled their defensive corps to reflect the way the game is played but I think the change of style accounts for at least a % of the 36 players you are comparing him to.

Harpers Hair

For the foreseeable future, I can see teams working from the philosophy that puck possession is the best form of defending and will all be looking for elite skating, puck moving D.

I don’t agree that the pipeline is anywhere near full as many teams don’t have a D that matches that description.

Ideally, I think GM’s want a balanced D corp that pairs an elite puck mover with a two way type all down the lineup.

Of course, that balance is hard to find but I expect those elite skaters to continue to be the Holy Grail.

The only team I can think of that has that pipeline full is Colorado with Makar, Byram and Connor Timmins.

Vancouver, with the signing of Schmidt is getting close as all of he, Hughes and Jack Rathbone are from that tree as is the much beloved Brogan Rafferty.

Valimaki in Calgary matches the description and Giordano did but likely won’t continue on that trajectory.

Even the TBL could use another one to work with Hedman and Sergachev.


Maybe, but that doesn’t really address my main point which is that in the period from 2008 to at least 2016 pretty much every team in the league was looking for this “new kind” of dman and, as a result they were getting rushed into the league sooner than players who had similar style players blocking them.

Bouchard is, a different kind of ‘offensive’ dman than many of those as well. He is not small and smooth skating. His skills seem to lie with his passing & shooting.

I can see him complementing a guy like Samorukov or Broberg at some point. A guy who can thread passes and get low hard shots on net with accuracy is going to have some kind of career in the NHL.


Lavoie with a goal and an assist in the first period this morning as Vasby is up 3-1.

Lagesson playing his old team – scoreless after 1.

Pasquale with the start for Yaroslav.

Maskimov seemed to be gaining ice time in the KHL for CSKA but he’s back in the VHL today playing for Zvezda Moscow.

Further updates will follow after games are over likely as this fan needs to go do his self care for 3 hours at the gym.

Enjoy your Sunday morning all!

The Graz99ers played and got lit up for 10 goals – no worries, Rodrigue was the back-up and I don’t think they pulled the starter – maybe a Patrick Roy moment…..

Maksimov with a goal – as he does in the VHL.

While the team lost 3-0, William Lagesson led in ice time against with almost 24 minutes. Aside from one other player, noone on the team was within 5 minutes of that TOI.

Lavoie finishes with a goal and an assist, shots on net and plus 1 in a 5-3 loss.

Benson with a PP assist in a 4-1 victory.

Lindewall did get almost 10 minutes of ice for Modo today.


Lindewall had an empty netter, so a bit of stat padding, but the fact he’s out there defending the 6on5 as an 18 year old in his first dozen pro games is a nice arrow.


I missed that he get the empty netter. Yup, I agree with you, the stat doesn’t matter but the teenager being out there protecting the lead is a big piece of info.

Thank you.


…and tells the account of young Huddy arriving with only five o’clock shadow and a dream.

Bouch had these assets covered at age 12.


in our near future



Scungilli Slushy

I like the amount of skill there, but can’t imagine 3 green D in the top 4 including one playing off handed.

As the emerging LD start to take jobs, as unsavoury as it is I think we’ll see some trades. Plus one may be gone to the Cracken.

If at all possible cap wise, and if the season goes well for him, I think they’ll sign Barrie. It’s Holland’s MO, and puts a productive RD vet in the group. Bear isn’t near Barrie’s level. That would mean Larsson walks.

There is a good chance that after this season Bro and Sammie are in Bouchard’s position in being ready for NHL duty.

Bro will be 21, Samo 23. They are playing against men in quality league’s and doing well, and already are at NHL skating level and size.

Like how US college players transition quickly at those ages because of the experience they have gained against pro men.

To me this also means Kemp may push sooner than expected. He has improved in his NHL deficiencies as Bruce told us in his write up (skating being key) and has excelled at every level like Bouchard, in his style of game.

The kicker is he wants to play the role he’s destined for, and not wanting to do that holds a lot of good young players back.

In 2-3 years I see these D as vulnerable assuming that Bro Samo and Kemp emerge well enough to cover a roster spot suiting their styles:

Klefbom (if still playing)

If they don’t sign Barrie and do bring Larsson back I think he might be vulnerable if they prefer Bear when the time comes, but one of them will likely have to go.

Holland has shown he covers things. All of this depends on whether a prospect can do the same job or close enough, but at ELC costs.


This pretty much covers it imo. I know that our host talks about how seldom Holland trades but to me a lot of that is because he was in Detroit long enough that he had shaped the drafting and development to provide continuity – until the high end talent eroded through retirement.

Edmonton is different. He inherited a vision of how a team should be built that is undoubtedly different than his own. Doesn’t mean the individual assets are without value but it probably does mean that guys will be moving on.

Larsson is probably the first guy to be let go – through trade or free agency. I expect that to happen at the end of this coming season but Bouchard may yet have something to say about that.


Per Mari Lonberg:

Puljujärvi is not aware when he will return to North-America. For now he will continue to play in the SM-liiga with Kärpät. He said himself that he will leave when the call comes. Also frustrated about the loss to Tappara.


buck yoakam

I think as a life long Oiler fan and supporter we tend to be a little jittery or fragile as we have had our high hopes dashed many times over. It is calming to see not only the GM but also coaching staff treat the players with respect but hold them accountable. The prospect depth at defence has never been this exciting. As far as calming the tits (the pouty brunette)…man, LT I love reading your articles!


Ahh… So you think the pout belonged to Teri Hatcher?

Could be could be….


Unrelated, but I happened to stumble upon Johannes Kinnvall today.

6’0, 23, RHS, undrafted, 40 points in 51 SEL games last season.

14 points in 12 games this season.

Looks like a nice signing by the Flames.

Harpers Hair

Calgary, very quietly, refilled their D prospect pool in the offseason.

Along with Kinvall, they signed two NCAA grads in Colton Poolman from UND and Connor Mackey from Minnesota State.


Apparently Kinvall’s a powerplay specialist who struggles at evens. Still, he’s a low risk signing.

Lack of depth creates opportunities. Players and more importantly agents have a clear sense of where the easier paths to NHL employment are found.


Evan Bouchard:

Draft year – massive offensive season – full projection around 10th overall

Draft plus 1 – OHL d-man of the year.

Draft plus 2 – AHL all-star as a 20 year old rookie pro – showed marked development through the year and elite in 2nd half

Draft plus 3 – likely NHL ready – waiting for North American hockey by being one of the beat d-man in Allsvenskan – not in SHL or KHL due to requiring an out to come back.

Likely pencilled in off roster to start due to legit NHL right D depth but assuredly will play many games. Excellent bet to solidify roster spot through year.

Developing exactly on time.

My issue is he’ll likely start season on the taxi squad due to border issues and won’t be playing games until the injury opportunity arises. Really wish he could get a solid 8 games for the Condors before his NHL recall.


After a hungry Barrie hits it out of the park and resigns for 5 or 6 years is there room for Bouchard. Evan is not a Holland pick he needs NHL playing time now. If he’s not in Holland’s plans package him up and get that shoot first scoring winger for Connor.


Could happen, but I doubt you’re getting enough quality in return for Bouchard till he gets on the big stage and auditions. And if he demonstrates he can play a leading role… does Holly(wood) still trade him?


This is Bouchard’s second year of pro hockey – his second year.

He will almost assuredly play NHL games this year – he’s earned the opportunity so far with his play every step of the way and he is 4RD – the perfect place for the 2nd year pro to be entering the season. It’ll be up to Bouchard to seize the NHL opportunity, with the help of Tippett and Playfair, when it come – and it will come.

Barrie hasn’t played a game for the Oilers and is approaching 30 years old. He may hit it out of the park and earn and sign another contract. Cap space will continue to be an issue – we’ll see where we are in June.

Even if Barrie does have a medium term future with the Oilers, it sure as heck doesn’t preclude Bouchard having a career with the Oilers.

Too many good right shot d-men will NOT be a problem.

In one year, Bouchard will be on the 2nd year of his ELC with a cap hit under $1M (subject to performance bonuses that could take it to $1.6M). Value contract are real and substantial.


Regardless, Reja is correct. Bouchard is not a Holland pick and could be moved to bring in a player of similar age and skill, but instead plays wing. The possibility of signing Barrie, having players like Berglund in the organization, the cheapness and availability of 6/7 defensemen, etc all provide oxygen for Holland to contemplate such a move… IF he so desires.

An “if” clearly stated by Reja, yet how he gets three minuses (at the time of this post out of expressing the possibilities) out of it is beyond me.

And certainly the hiring of Barrie for this year brings questions into what Holland’s plans for Bouchard are this season. I’m sure these will become more clear once the season begins, but right now all we have is speculation

So are the minuses just a way for the cowardly and the gutless to participate here? It stuns me when I see a post with say five of them and no responses. Throw them at HH like confetti, sure, agreed; he has earned every one of them. But I’d like to think everyone else here—if you feel so strongly that a post should be pooh-poohed with a negative—deserves a response.


That was a little intense but okay.

Developing a possible #1 d-man for the first time since Coffey (Petry), on a cost-controlled contract, who could solve your RHD problems for the next decade, and then trading him because a player like Barrie, playing for his last big UFA cash-in, gets to play with McDavid could bite you in the ass big-time.

Who the winger coming in that would make it worthwhile? Tarasenko?

You have your centers, we need to vastly improve the D corpse, and wingers are the most easily replaceable position in the league.


This site already has a barrier to entry… it has been discussed on here many times by noobs and passersby. That barrier could be described as the general level of intellect required especially in the expression of argumentation, coupled with Maths that are typically beyond what is taught to say the average high-schooler. It’s intimidating, or at least that is what has been expressed, and I don’t find that to be beyond belief by any stretch.

The minuses add another barrier to entry.

Since they are simply a way for a reader to transfer the bad feelings a post gave him to the writer of that post, I don’t see the value… but I do see the potential for harm. Since most places have a “Like” feature but not a “Hate” button, I’m guessing I’m not the only one who sees this.

Just my opinion which in the grand scheme of things is largely irrelevant… Carry on, carrying on lol.


I’ve never been aware of these barriers and think the above over-states them. I came to this site knowing very little about “the math” and found no barriers.

Contributing to the site over the years has educated me about “the math” – I’ve learned alot. I fall way short of George, JP, Ryan, Jaxon, etc. with the math and the analysis (and never had an idea what Ricki is talking about) but I feel I can have a conversation with any of them despite being “lesser than” in the area.

No barrier.

The plus/minus is something I never consider nor put any sort of stock in.

Scungilli Slushy

OP he said ‘ Maths’ not ‘the Math’.

You obviously have math skills because of your job. Many are basically math illiterate. Which I say as an employer of dozens of entry level workers over years.

And Munny are you British, I can’t remember?

Scungilli Slushy

You can also keep hitting the + or – so it’s not saying anything anyway

Replying positively if you like a comment also removes anonimity, which is the bane of the webs and a tonic for misbehaviour in humans always.


I hit the plus. 😉


Yes, Bouchard was not a Holland pick, nor was Barrie mind you (granted he did sign him). At the same time, Bouchard gets mentioned by Holland when talking about the young D, the prospects and the future every bit as much as Borberg.

I think Holland values Bouchard as much as the rest of us do and the Barrie signing was a function of (a) Klefbom’s situation in general, (b) an opportunity that could not be passed up given the contract and (c) the knowledge that defensive depth is hugely important and, without an add to the right side, Bouchard is gifted the 3RD spot and one injury from top 4 minutes before he’s proven ready and his development timeline is changed.

Remember when Nurse was called up and started his career at 3LD and was doing very well. All of a sudden an injury happened and he was moved to the top 4 and struggled with Sekera for the rest of the year. Barrie’s acquisition mitigages against that exact scenario.

For sure, Barrie could be re-signed and Bouchard could be traded for value – as you say, for a winger. Or, Barrie could not be re-signed and that apx $5M used to sign a winger. Then you have Bouchard for the next decade with 50 plus point potential.


Lots of options available to Holland and Tippett. I tend to think that is a good thing.


Options are wonderful and something that has been rare at best for us as Oiler fans for a number of years. There are a number of decisions that will need to be be made in the next 2 to 3 years that will go a long ways to determining the roster for what could be a team capable of challenging for a championship on a regular basis for 5 to 7 years. We wait!


I think at times we get too caught up in trying to second guess the GM’s plan moving forward. The acquisition of Barrie to my way of thinking is simple. Barrie was available on a value one year deal to give veteran insurance because of health concerns for Larsson. If the signing works Holland has the opportunity to re-sign or worst case scenario move him for a draft choice. Holland does his due diligence on all players that he feels could be an upgrade for the team. Signing Barrie was in no way an indication of his feelings on Bouchard’s abilities. This allows Bouchard to continue to progress without pressure. As far as moving Bouchard for a winger it could happen as all players can be traded but it would require very good value coming back and in my opinion will not happen.


“So are the minuses just a way for the cowardly and the gutless to participate here? It stuns me when I see a post with say five of them and no responses.”

I gave reja a minus because IIRC he’s stated much the same sentiment before but much less diplomatically.

Essentially that Bouchard is ready for a lineup spot and PP time and if Holland/Tippett are going to add Barrie to block him then he might as well be traded. That’s been my prior reading of reja’s position at least, and I disagree, hence the minus.

I do agree though that the minuses could represent an added barrier to participation for some.


I agree with your assessment of Reja’s point, your analysis of the point and your disagreement thereof.

I don’t see why the threat of a post getting “a minus” would inhibit participation.

Presumably participation is with the presumption of discussing and sharing opinions and with the knowledge that not everyone is going to agree on every point.


OP, you’re a very successful lawyer and you clearly have the courage of your convictions in terms of your opinions (at least on all things Oilers).

I won’t profess to know how everyone feels, but I do know that not everyone has the self confidence you seem to have (and that’s probably served you well).

I think Munny is right that this can be an intimidating place to come to (and participate in) for someone who’s not fully self assured and/or who doesn’t follow everything that’s being discussed, for whatever reasons.

Having the ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ options just amplifies that since it opens the possibility of public humiliation on some level.

You’re presuming quite a bit about others based on how you think and feel.

Anyway, I’m not even sure I’d want to get rid of the + and – options overall, but pretty sure Munny is right they could dissuade some from joining the conversation.


Wild Bill-Samorokov



My guess
Nurse Bear
Jones Barrie
Broberg Bouchard
Samorukov in the wings should anybody slip with Kesselring and Kemp approaching ready


I would guess in (no particular order or pairing)
Klef Barrie
Nurse Bouchard
Broberg Bear

Samurokov as first injury replacement and Russell as PB grey hair
Jones sacrificed to the Kraken


Hard to know exactly what we have with Jones 60 games into his career but protecting Klefbom at this point is a mistake imo.

This team needs to think about the future and all those injuries are taking a toll.


I believe Samorukov is closer to NHL ready that Broberg and the Broberg will start (and maybe finish) the 2021/22 season in the AHL.

Its not a certainty but I imagine Jones’ play this coming year leads to him being a “must-protect” – his cap hit for 2021/22 is $850K.


Sammy has a long haul to be a roster player in less than one year from now (assuming 21-22 isn’t tardy).

Year after is much more likely.

And no way is he ahead of Broberg on the depth chart. Now or tomorrow.


Broberg remains a higher rated prospect than Sammy, in my opinion, but Sammy is much closer to NHL ready than Borberg, in my opinion.


Is the Swe-1 the new WHA? Bouchard has 54 PIM in 20 games?


Misconducts are listed as 20 min PIM and he got a misconduct for interference early in the season…..


Thanks for the explanation. I guess he’s not putting on the foil…


The reality is the majority of Oiler fans see In Bouchard what you see in him LT. The resident troll however comes on the site and tries to spread doubts and with half truths and lies tries to get us to believe Bouchard is a bust and that Vancouver’s Brogan Rafferty will be the better D.


Sunday day eeyore still be squinting for rain.

Same as it ever was.

Last edited 10 months ago by maudite
Scungilli Slushy

The exciting thing for me is the potential transition of the Oilers D over the next seasons.

It could be a big mobile puck moving D group with talent and some crust, a range of styles, possibly even completely home grown.

It also looks like they will be able to match pairs with an offensive leaning type and a defensive leaning type that can still skate and move the biscuit.

Perfect as I see it. Quite a change.


Yup, we’ve seen the potential in the defence d-prospects coming for a few years now and it looks like we are just starting to reap the benefits (with Bear popping last year and Jones starting to establish himself) and are likely one season away from being able to really take advantage by either (a) moving an veteran for value and/or cap savings and/or (b) moving a prospect itself for value.

Wishing the next year each of Bouchard, Broberg and/or Samorukov could be ready. I anticipate Broberg will be in the AHL for most of 2021/22 but, damn, there are many options coming.

Not to mention Berglund has a shot at the NHL and Kemp and Kesserling are coming in behind.


Pouty brunettes and patio lanterns, lol, thanks for my Sunday morning chuckle.

Victoria Oil

I think there is a story there from LT’s single days. We need to find a way to get him to cough it up. 🙂

Kim Mitchell will be in my head all day.


All this guy does is preform well in any league he plays! He only took a quarter season to get to a good AHL player; thats all you can pretty much do as a prospect