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Oilers’ Evan Bouchard: The Makings of a Great Young Defenseman

Last night, the Edmonton Oilers broke a seven-game losing streak. What did Evan Bouchard bring to that game and to the Oilers in general?

The Edmonton Oilers snapped a seven-game losing streak on Saturday night against the Calgary Flames. That isn’t new, but it was a bit unexpected. The Oilers have had success against the Flames by winning six of their last seven when the Flames visited the Oilers in their home building. However, with the Oilers losing streak in tow, it wasn’t easy.

Related: Four Takeaways from Oilers 5-3 Win Over the Flames

Barrie’s Absence Allowed Bouchard to Play More Crucial Minutes

Early on Saturday morning, Oilers’ coach Dave Tippett had reported that Tyson Barrie would be out for the game with multiple injuries. However, that meant that young Evan Bouchard would expand his game’s workload, and Bouchard came through with flying colors. He scored his first NHL multi-goal game as the Oilers skated to a tough 5-3 win, coming back from a 2-0 first-period deficit.

For the Oilers, Leon Draisaitl also scored two goals to lead his team to victory. His tie-breaking goal that made the score 4-3 for the Oilers was the game-winner and really the water that doused the Flames’ fire. In the end, Draisaitl had a four-point game.

The Oilers’ Brendan Perlini scored the Oilers’ other goal and Mikko Koskinen stopped 44 of 47 shots and made some timely saves to give his team a chance to win.

Head Coach Tippett Talks About Bouchard’s Game

In this post, I’d like to focus on Evan Bouchard’s game – both his single game against the Flames and his overall game. If you’re an Oilers fan, you’ll know that Bouchard is a keeper. He’s a talented young defenseman who the Oilers will likely keep in their lineup for a long time. This season, he’s just coming into his own with the team.

After the game last night on Oilers TV, head coach Tippett was interviewed and spoke about Bouchard’s contribution to the team. One question Tippett was asked was about Bouchard’s ability to shoot the puck through traffic. For a young defenseman, he’s confident, seldom needs to look down at the puck, and has great instincts.

Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers

Tippett responded that those skills were why Bouchard was drafted so high. He has the ability to make things happen with the puck; and, it isn’t just that he shoots it hard – although he does. However, both his slapshot and his wrister are very accurate and accuracy is one of his strengths. It certainly was on display Saturday night on both his power-play goals.

Bouchard Has Poise with the Puck

Tippett also was asked what Bouchard brought to the game that made him successful, and he wrapped it up in one phrase – “poise with the puck.” Tippett noted that “some guys get the puck, and they get excited. However, Bouchard gets the puck and he doesn’t get excited.”

Tippett added that there were times when “I wish he’d get a little more excited maybe; but, for the most part, he doesn’t get very excited and he makes good plays with the puck.”

Finally, Tippett noted that Bouchard was making a case for more playing time with that top unit, which is what you’re looking for, right?”

The long and the short of it is that, in Evan Bouchard, it looks as if the Edmonton Oilers have the makings of a great young defenseman.

Related: Trade Hypothetical: Can Boston Offer Up Enough to Get Draisaitl from Oilers?

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