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Can Oilers’ Evan Bouchard Reach Mike Green’s 31-Goal Season?

Does Evan Bouchard have the skill and is he in the right environment to potentially score close to the crazy mark set by Mike Green in 2008?

During the 2008-09 NHL season, Mike Green had a remarkable campaign with the Washington Capitals, etching his name in the record books as one of the league’s most prolific defensemen. During that season, Green achieved a milestone that was nothing short of extraordinary: he scored an astonishing 31 goals as a defenseman, a feat that remains a testament to his offensive prowess.

Green’s offensive outburst was a major storyline of that season, and he became the first defenseman in two decades to surpass the 30-goal mark. Since then, no other defenseman has achieved that marker. Cale Makar came close in 2021-22 with 28 goals and Brent Burns got a little closer with 29 during the 2016-17 season. You’d have to go all the way back to 20 years earlier to find the last blueliner to do it; the 1988-89 campaign when Paul Coffey hit the milestone with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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But, in 2008, Green was on a different level. His ability to jump into the play, unleash a blistering slapshot, and contribute significantly to the Capitals’ scoring was nothing short of sensational. Green’s offensive contributions helped propel the Capitals to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, and he earned his first of two consecutive Norris Trophy nominations as the league’s best defenseman.

Evan Bouchard Mike Green 30 goal season nhl
Evan Bouchard Mike Green 30 goal season nhl

His 2008-09 season remains a standout moment in his career and a testament to his exceptional talent on the blue line. It showcased his ability to impact the game not only defensively but also as a potent offensive force, leaving a lasting legacy in the annals of NHL history.

Can Evan Bouchard Get There With the Oilers?

This season, big things are expected from Evan Bouchard. This is not to suggest the Oilers are putting big pressure on him to score 20, 25, or 30, but the assumption is that his goal total will naturally shoot through the roof as he quarterbacks the best power play in NHL history for a full season.

And yes, before fans freak out and suggest I’m putting unneeded pressure on the player, I’m not suggesting he should to be effective, nor am I saying it has to be this season if he ever gets close. I’m merely asking if he’s got the skill set and if he’s in the right situation to put himself in the conversation.

He signed a two-year extension with the Oilers this summer and the team is expecting him to play pivotal minutes, getting more and more comfortable as he settles into a nice NHL career and looks to play well, ensuring his next contract in two seasons’ time is a whopper. Realistically, Bouchard is likely going to hit 15-18 goals. He had 12 in 2021-22 and 8 last season, which makes one wonder why we’d even be comparing him to a player like Mike Green at the height of his NHL career. The situation is the answer.

If Bouchard gets hot early, he’ll shoot more. He’s got a bomb and it’s pretty accurate. The Oilers are also going to have Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and a combination of Zach Hyman and Evander Kane on the ice with him multiple times this year. Even a lesser defenseman could score 15 with those guys if given a full season.

And, if it isn’t this year, it might be next, or the year after. This group is staying together — all signed for multiple seasons — and growing more and more comfortable as a unit as each season passes. If we assume that Bouchard gets 18, can he get 25 the next year? If he does, he’ll still only be 25 years old. The sky is the limit for what he can do when he hits his prime.

And, if he doesn’t do it, he may still get closer than most defensemen in the last decade. Even that would be incredible.

Next: Phil Kessel Open to Depth Role: A Fit for the Edmonton Oilers?



  1. Karan

    September 5, 2023 at 5:48 pm

    Can we please get past the idea that Bouchard “quarterbacks” the power play? He shoots when there’s an opening and he returns the puck to McDavid if there’s not. 97 orchestrates what happens on the power play. Bouchard’s role could be played by almost any other Oiler player.

  2. Pingback: McDavid, Oilers Making Huge Statement Ahead of 2023-24 Season

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