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Bouchard Likely to Make Oilers Roster to Start 2020-21 NHL Season

According to sources, Evan Bouchard is like to make the Edmonton Oilers roster out of camp. He’s one of the best options, at least for now.

According to Kur Leavins of the Edmonton Journal, Evan Bouchard has cracked the door open to make the Oilers roster to start the season and from most accounts, he’s looked good in camp. Leavins is not the only one who thinks so and the question will be where he plays and how long he’ll stick around.

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Leavins writes:

I fully expect Evan Bouchard to make the club and start the season in Edmonton. But I don’t see him playing ahead of Adam Larsson, Ethan Bear or Tyson Barrie. And none of those 3 nor Bouchard play the LHS. So, barring injury, I won’t be shocked if Bouchard heads back to Bakersfield in a month once the AHL season resumes play.

Meanwhile, Allan Mitchell of The Athletic notes that Bouchard is “right there” when it comes to sticking with the team. He notes that the defenseman will probably start on the taxi squad “but stay in Edmonton even when the extras head to Bakersfield for the start of AHL camp.”

From what Mitchell has heard and seen so far from camp, Bouchard has been involved offensively — he has two assists during the scrimmages — and his game has really taken a big step forward thanks to the short amount of time he spent in Sweden during the fall. He’s quicker and more decisive.

Mitchell agrees with Leavins that Larsson, Bear and Barrie are all ahead of him on the depth chart, but beyond that, there’s no No. 7 or No. 8 the Oilers can call upon. Mitchell also points out that Larsson’s back issues are something that remain on the minds of the Oilers, even though he too has looked much better in camp than he did during the 2019-20 regular season.

If all things go well for the Oilers and injuries do not play a huge factor — thus keeping Bouchard on the taxi squad for a long period of time — he may be demoted when things in the AHL have become a bit more clear.

Evan Bouchard to make the Edmonton Oilers roster

Koekkoek Pushing Russell?

The discussion about Bouchard inevitably leads to discussion about a defenseman like Slater Koekkoek. He would have to clear waivers and Leavins notes Koekkoek has looked solid in camp. He’ll also likely stick with the team.

A smart depth add by Ken Holland, Koekkoek should provide the Oilers with some depth and he might even push Kris Russell for some playing time. For now, there’s a big hill to climb in that regard as Russell has been paired with Tyson Barrie to create a duo that offers both offense and defense.

Next: Insider Reveals Blue Jackets Ask for Dubois In Any Future Rangers Trade

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