Considering the Edmonton Oilers are now 2-4 on the season, there’s some speculation that the team might do a little more line shuffling. With a defense that has been better over the past two contests than it was in the first four, there are still some questions on the blue, especially when it comes to offensive production and puck moving out of the Oilers own zone.
Thus, enter into the conversation Evan Bouchard. A high-end prospect for the Oilers on defense, puck moving and offensive production are his two specialties. He’s yet to suit up for the Oilers this season but that might be about to change as TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reports that Oilers head coach Dave Tippett says the team has discussed the idea of dressing seven defensemen to get Bouchard into the lineup.
Bouchard has created offence at every level he has ever played at. He also worked extensively in Sweden this offseason to improve the areas of his game that were looked as weaknesses by scouts, including a more lackadaisical attitude towards defensive posture.
It’s not a lock and he’s not scheduled to be in the lineup on Sunday as the Oilers take on a Laine-less Winnipeg Jets team, but the buzz seems to be that Bouchard will some minutes soon, possibly on the power play where Edmonton has struggled a bit.
“He is still an option. He’s working hard in practice. I give him credit there. We’ve got nine defencemen with Bouch. He’s a good power play guy. Our power play has struggled a little bit, so we’ve had conversations about that.
Tippett noted that he’ll continue to monitor that situation and noted that when he is called upon, “I think he’s going to jump in and take off. We just have to find him that opportunity.”
Scratch Adam Larsson?
The question becomes whether or not Bouchard can eventually work his way into the lineup and if he’s a better option than perhaps someone like Adam Larsson who has struggled a bit this season.
Larsson is leading the team in blocked shots, but the Oilers lack of a puck mover certainly isn’t being improved by the Swede who seems to dearly miss his regular playing parter in Oscar Klefbom. Bouchard seems ready and Larsson looks like maybe he could use a break.
Part of the reason there’s even a discussion about taking Larsson out of the lineup if the team is thinking about dressing seven d-men is because the organization would like to try and get Caleb Jones back in as well.
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