These names, along with a few others were desirable targets for Peter Chiarelli over the recent months. You’d think that with the trade that Peter Chiarelli made around two years ago at this time to obtain Adam Larsson would fix this issue. Somehow, it hasn’t quite worked out.
From at least until the season ended in April, there was plenty of talk about what exactly the Oilers would need to give up in order to bolster the right side. Given the cap crunch that the team is in, the Oilers were likely going to have to ship a contract plus a pick in order to sweeten the deal to another team. To much dismay, it might have been a Nugent-Hopkins, or a Klefbom. I guess having three NMC deals on your team at once isn’t all that.
The 2018 NHL Draft came and went this past weekend. Arizona went out on a limb at fifth overall to select Barrett Hayton, while the Rangers selected Vitali Kravtsov at 9th overall. Edmonton would have a chance to select between defencemen Evan Bouchard and Noah Dobson or right wing Oliver Wahlstrom at 10th overall.
The Oilers selected Evan Bouchard out of London (OHL).
There’s lots to like about this pick. A solid defenceman who stands 6’2”, Bouchard loves to shoot the puck. Hey, know what would be great? It’d be great if Evan Bouchard could help QB the power play some day. Oilers could use one of those guys. Bouchard is a right-shot defencman who scored an impressive 87 points (25-62-87) with the London Knights in 2017-18 to lead his club. There’s lots to like here. It’s not out of the question to suggest that Bouchard could be on the opening night roster in October if things click just right.
Maybe it all works out to where Bouchard is a shoo-in. Maybe he gets 9 games, or 3 games, or no games at all. I think he gets a shot, but things happen between now and training camp.
Does the selection of Bouchard mean an end to the right defenceman search?
What does your defence look like with Evan Bouchard in the mix? Any way you slice it, it’d be a fairly big gamble for the Oilers to start the 2018-19 season. Darnell Nurse is due for a raise, what is his deal going to look like? Is Matt Benning ready to grab top four minutes consistently? Will Andrej Sekera be symptom free from his ACL injury? Where does Kris Russell fit in this?
If the Oilers are looking to move Bouchard into the top six (and while it’s early, it’s not entirely impossible either), that will create a logjam. A corps of Klefbom, Nurse, Larsson, Benning, Sekera, Russell, and Bouchard doesn’t have a real 7th defenceman that sticks out. The team could make Bouchard the 7th defenceman like (Yamamoto was an extra forward last year for a few games) and try to swing a deal involving someone on the left side. That’s assuming that Evan Bouchard is on the Oilers for the year. I’m not so sure that he is. Or is he?
Does drafting Evan Bouchard end Peter Chiarelli’s search for a puck-moving right defeceman?