The Oilers have sent defenceman Evan Bouchard back to the London Knights (per Sam Cosentino).— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) November 2, 2018
His maiden NHL stint ends at 7 games, 1-0-1, 2 PIMs and a minus-5.
Not ready yet, but Bouchard will be an excellent Dman for a long, long time.
The Oilers have sent Evan Bouchard back to the London Knights. It is the correct move. More on that in a second.
The 10th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft has not looked out of place on the main roster in Edmonton on the third pair. Bouchard has paired with a handful of Oiler defencemen not named Klefbom or Larsson in seven regular season games. If called upon, he could probably be a serviceable option for the bottom pair for the entire year. That’s a lot of conjecture for a 19 year old after seven games, but there’s definite progress in the young man’s game. He’ll tear it up in London this year, and there’s probably a significant chance he’s around for more than seven NHL games in 2019-20.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO SEND BOUCHARD BACK
Maybe you’re on board with him playing the entire year in Edmonton. Normally that’s not a crazy idea, but it’s more to do with the likely upcoming expansion draft in Seattle. Seattle is probably going to get an expansion team around 2021, and keeping Bouchard in Edmonton this year would ensure that his entry level deal would expire...in 2021. The Oilers would then be forced to protect Bouchard from the expansion draft, an idea that seems pretty easily avoidable by sending him to the OHL now.
The Oilers have been icing a bottom pair that contains a cast of Jason Garrison and Matt Benning as of late. Ethan Bear is the most likely replacement to be called up from Bakersfield.
Evan Bouchard will likely be a difference maker for the Oilers for many years. We’ll just have to wait until 2019-20 to get another glimpse.