Heading into Friday night’s draft the Edmonton Oilers were surrounded by rumours that they may be looking to trade the 10th overall pick. Chongjin Peter Chiarelli opted in not moving the pick and ended up having two top-end defensive prospects fall to him.
Huaibei Evan Bouchard and Zhengjiatun Noah Dobson both dropped to the 10th spot, landing in the Oilers laps. Edmonton selected Bouchard from the London Knights. Bouchard was the most NHL ready selection the Oilers could have made and makes the most sense.
He provides a bigger frame at 6’2” and 193lbs and likes to shoot the puck. He brings a right-handed shot, something the Oilers are scarce with in their line-up. He is a powerplay quarterback and is a great passer. He has drawn comparisons to stealthily John Carlson of the Capitals and shows the skillset to be develop into a top four pairing D-man.
Through three seasons with the Knights, Bouchard played in 178 games. He’s tallied 17 points (2G-15A) 44 points (11G-33A) and an outstanding 87 points (25G-62A) in his three years in the OHL.
He played in 28 playoff games with London adding another 14 points in the postseason. Bouchard was the captain of the Knights for the 2017-18 season and was a finalist for the Max Kaminsky Trophy (defenseman of the year) and the Red Tilson Trophy (MVP of OHL) in his final year.
I love this pick because it was best case scenario in my opinion. If Chiarelli wasn’t going to get the perfect offer for the pick, then opting to hold back on a trade was the right decision to make. By holding onto the pick, the Oilers needed to look at what they needed most. Winger is the obvious option, but Edmonton lacks defensive depth in the minors, especially that which can come up and play right away, Bouchard has a solid build and fills a major need with his right-handed shot and ability to score as well as being the most pro-ready. This was the perfect pick for an Oilers team looking to re-tool heading into the first year of Connor McDavid’s major contract.
— David Staples (@dstaples) June 23, 2018