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3 Most Likely Teams to Offer Sheet Oilers’ Evan Bouchard

If the Edmonton Oilers and Evan Bouchard became the target of an offer sheet, one journalist notes the three teams that would consider it.

While rare, offer sheets are a viable option for teams looking to grab a player from a club that potentially has little recourse to match an offer due to their salary cap concerns. One candidate that insiders are keeping a close eye on is Evan Bouchard of the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers are in tight with the cap, Bouchard is an emerging top-four defenseman who can quarterback a power play, and the right offer might be difficult for GM Ken Holland to match without major roster adjustments.

Related: Bowen Byram’s Deal Sets the Bar for Evan Bouchard’s Bridge Contract

As Josh Wegman of The Score points out, Bouchard presents a prime target for teams with cap room and a need to for someone with Bouchard’s skill set. The 23-year-old defenseman has showcased his offensive prowess and posted impressive underlying numbers. His potential as a future No. 1 defenseman makes him a valuable asset for the Oilers’ Stanley Cup aspirations. However, with only $5.62 million in projected space and another RFA, Ryan McLeod, to sign, it’s not clear where the money would come from if the Oilers and the defenseman were the targets of an offer sheet.

Evan Bouchard Edmonton Oilers bridge deal
Evan Bouchard Edmonton Oilers bridge deal

Wegman points out, if a team were to sign Bouchard to a five-year offer sheet with an $8.58 million cap hit, it would put the Oilers in a challenging position. An $8.58 million cap hit for five years is the maximum in the offer sheet tier that costs a first-, second-, and third-round pick. He also points out that three teams could consider this.

Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres possess the necessary elements for considering an offer sheet. With ample cap space, currently around $6.7 million but expandable to $10 million with a smaller roster, they meet the financial requirements.

The team believes they are on the cusp of success after narrowly missing the playoffs last season, boasting an impressive young core. With a promising prospect pool and potential late-round draft picks, they have flexibility. Adding Bouchard, a right-handed defenseman, to a blue line already featuring Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power would be a significant boost.

Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Don Waddell has a history of dealing with offer sheets and isn’t afraid to ruffle feathers. Most notably, he acquired Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Montreal Canadiens in 2021. Wegman suggests pursuing Evan Bouchard makes sense for them.

The Hurricanes are rumored to be in on a trade involving Tony DeAngelo and they are a frontrunner to acquire Erik Karlsson. Bouchard is significantly younger than Karlsson and doesn’t come with the reputational warts DeAngelo does.

The Hurricanes only have $2.52 million in cap space but they are rumored to be shopping both Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce as their contracts end and the uncertainty of free agency makes them logical trade possibilities.

A Hurricanes’ blue line that also features Bouchard might make them the league’s best.

Seattle Kraken

Following an impressive playoff appearance in just their second season, what are the Seattle Kraken planning on doing to maintain, and even improve on last season’s success? Bouchard might be a game-changer, suggests Wegman. Where things quite interesting for the Kraken is that weakening the Oilers has distinct advantages. There is a good chance they would play the Oilers in the early rounds of next year’s post-season and having Bouchard in the lineup against Edmonton would sting.

The Kraken currently have $9 million in cap space, with no player earning more than $5.5 million. While some will be allocated to restricted free agent Vince Dunn, an offer sheet remains feasible for Bouchard. Pairing Dunn and Bouchard with defensive stalwarts Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak would create an electrifying blue line for Seattle. Wegman called it a “no-lose situation” for the Kraken, with the opportunity to enhance their roster or disrupt a division rival’s cap situation. The decision to pursue Bouchard could define the Kraken’s commitment to long-term success.

One More Team to Consider…

** Author’s Note: The Chicago Blackhawks should be a team worth considering here too. With the drafting of Connor Bedard, the Blackhawks are going to build slowly to contention, but signing Bouchard to an offer sheet doesn’t deter that plan. They have plenty of cap space and plenty of room to add players who are young and will grow with this core.

They have five NHL defensemen signed to contracts for the upcoming season with the rest of their blue line either being filled out by prospects or other signings. Both Nikita Zaitsev and Jared Tinordi are pending UFAs at the end of the season. The one downside is that three of their five signed d-men are righties and so is Bouchard.

Next: Penguins Were Close to Massive Trade for Karlsson on July 1



  1. Gordoil

    July 13, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Look -Bouchard has to sign a contract with the thought of playing there.
    He is not signing in Seattle, they are not as close to the cup as you would think, and nobody in Seattle is going to boost his stats like McDavid and Draisaitl for the next contract.
    Buffalo is short on the cap space you talk abou,t plus no where near contention. Dahlin is an RFA next year. So just like Carolina did to Montreal – not happening
    Carolina has no cap space or need for offence on the back, they need offence up front.

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