Oilers may be forced to move on from star player

Published December 12, 2023 at 10:31
The ascension of Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard has been growing steady over the past two seasons.

The organization had high hopes for the right-handed shot defenceman as he was drafted in the 2018 entry draft, first round 10th pick overall. Since his breakout season in 2021-2022, he has not shown signs of slowing down and is becoming an elite offensive defenceman.

Despite early defensive miscues, he has been benefitting from the coaching of Oilers legend Paul Coffey. His mistakes have diminished and it's changing his game for the better.

It's shocking that less than a few months ago there was heavy discussions especially in the rumor mill that the Oilers were considering trading Bouchard due to cap constraints. The team jostled on the idea on whether to sign him to a long-term deal or sign him to a bridge deal to see if he would continue to blossom.

The Oilers opted the bridge route and gave him a $7 million contract over two years. As mentioned by the oilersnation.com now being the quarterback of the power play is currently third overall in the NHL in points as a defenceman. It is clear this contract is a pure bargain and gives the Oilers a chance to evaluate their long-term cap strategy. Now with his excellent play, and the Oilers cap situation remaining tight for seasons to come, it could be difficult to keep money available for Bouchard.

It's expected after this deal is over that Bouchard will have heavy payday whether it is with the Oilers or another franchise. I expect the Oilers to do whatever it takes to keep him in the fold, even though it may become quite difficult to retain him.
December 12   |   588 answers
Oilers may be forced to move on from star player

Should the Oilers sign Evan Bouchard to a long term contract?

Yes43273.5 %
No15626.5 %
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