The curious case that is Evan Bouchard.
On one hand, this young player possesses skills, size and the demeanor to truly become the cream of the crop in this draft class (and yes, I do include Dahlin). Yet, on the other, a large part of his surge up draft boards is due to his unbelievable season. He just finished up the 10th best season in OHL for points by a defensemen age 18 or younger. Let that sink in… A kid who had just 13 goals and 61 points through his first 111 games, dropped 25 goals and 87 points on the OHL in 67 games.
What do we do with that? Do we have a kid who broke through maybe a year later than most would have liked? Or do we have a kid that had a spectacular season, but we’ve seen him at his best…? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, this young player certainly appears to be rel real, as he ranked in the top 3 of shots, assists, goals and points per 60 minutes. Many have pegged Bouchard as the pick for the Red Wings but based on these numbers and events leading up to the draft; it isn’t very likely that Bouchard makes it out of the top 5.
NHL Central Scouting: 4th (North American Skaters)
Bob McKenzie (TSN): 5th
Craig Button (TSN) (March): 5th
ISS Hockey: 6th
Prior to this season, Bouchard was a good, not great defenseman by OHL standards. Then this year happened and he has every look of being an elite, all-around, RHD in the NHL. As mentioned previously, he was also in the top 3 in numerous advanced metrics as well. That is where he separates himself, for me. He is not only a stud athlete but he does the little things as well.
The Eye Test
Just like I did with Merkley, the best way to appreciate this kid is to simply just watch:
Insight from Evan Bouchard…
Fit With The Red Wings
I’ll say this, I’d be happier than a pig in you-know-what if the Wings were to grab Bouchard at 6 and then be able to grab Merkley later on. That said, Bouchard is likely gone in the top 5. He would be an instant asset, instantly the top prospect the Wings have and would have the dubious distinction as replacing the Perfect Human (let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter if it is Bouchard, Hughes, Boqvist or Dobson; they will all be unfairly compared to Lidstrom simply because they are a high selection expected to be a high end talent). He is an elite RHD, what more needs to be said as far as his fit with the Red Wings?
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