Evan Bouchard skating in front of the Oilers net.
Photo credit: CTV News Edmonton

Oilers defenceman Bouchard called out for major flaw in his game

Published March 24, 2024 at 11:35

Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard is a certified star in the NHL, but he's still got some defensive warts in his game.

In the first 40 minutes of last night's game, the Oilers dug themselves too deep a hole to get out of against the Leafs. The Oilers were porous defensively on just a few opportunities, and the Leafs capitalized on their chances. One instance in particular wasn't good enough from Bouchard where he was beat to the puck too easily by Matthews, and was slow getting back to the net front resulting in a goal against.

The Oilers are still seeing these mistakes too often from Bouchard, but the fan and media criticism against him can be too much at times. His defensive game still does need much more development, but his offensive contributions from the back end at just 24 years old already make him a clear star player. Not many of the Oilers played exceptionally good in the first two periods, and Bouchard just happened to be one of them.

That said, last night's game was a test against a new-look physical Leafs team and the Oilers failed. Both the team and Bouchard can't be making soft defensive plays like this in the coming weeks.

Heading into more big games down the stretch and into the playoffs, the Oilers need to come prepared every night, and be able to keep up with increasing physicality while maintaining their league-best offence. If the Oilers depth players specifically can do that, the star players could carry them far along in the playoffs.
March 24   |   605 answers
Oilers defenceman Bouchard called out for major flaw in his game

Do you think Bouchard is a star even with defensive problems?

Yes, he's a star player, people are hard on him20834.4 %
No, he still needs to improve37962.6 %
See Results183 %
Latest 10 stories