Prospect Profile: Evan Bouchard
Birthplace: Oakville, ON
Evan Bouchard, a 3rd year defenceman for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. The Knights’ first round pick in 2015 was drafted as a 15 year old and has had a solid OHL career. This has been his best of the 3. He is eligible for this year’s NHL Entry Draft, and will be selected in the 1st round. He is ranked as an “A” player on the NHL’s Players to Watch List.
Expect to hear his name called on draft day. The London Knights always produce quality NHL players, and Bouchard fits right in to that category. What isn’t there to like about the way that he plays. Bouchard plays the game simple, doesn’t take too many penalties (13 on the year). One thing that you will remember about him leaving the arena is how heavy his shot is. Bouchard has 12 goals on the season, and arguably has the hardest slap shot in the OHL. Bouchard can do it all, he skates smooth, controls the tempo of the play and can make a good first-pass out of the zone. On the defensive end, he reads the play well often cutting off the passing lanes and you will never see him caught out of position. One thing Bouchard can improve on is taking an extra second to make sure he doesn’t cough the puck up. Overall, whichever team drafts him this year will have a solid well rounded defenceman.
His OHL Career:
Entering the OHL is your rookie season is difficult, developing young defenceman is even more challenging. The key is they can’t be rushed. 15 year-old Evan Bouchard impressed his coaching staff so much that he cracked the London Knights Opening Day Roster. He played 43 games in his rookie season. Bouchard scored 2 goals in his rookie year, both on the same night. The Knights were taking on the Erie Otters, and Bouchard managed to score twice on Devin Williams, in a 6-2 Knights loss. This Knights team would go on to win the Memorial Cup. Bouchard finished with 17 points and was a +15.
After the trade deadline passed, the London Knights defensive core featured Victor Mete, Mitchell Vande Sompel, Olli Juolevi, Nicolas Mattinen, Brandon Crawley and Bouchard. Despite the stacked defence, Bouchard had 11 goals and 33 assists, a career-year. In 10 playoff games he registered 2 years. Bouchard continued to impress Head Coach Dale Hunter to play in all 68 games, despite the amount of talent the Knights had on the blue line.
There is no doubt that Evan Bouchard learned a lot from the talent on last year’s blue line. Bouchard is the defenceman who is counted on the most. It is a young defensive core that the Knights have went with this year, and Bouchard plays at least 20-25 minutes a game. He is out on the power-play and penalty kill despite his ice time on 5-on-5. With Victor Mete making the Montreal Canadiens this year that left a huge hole, and Bouchard has done an exceptional time filling it. The veteran defenceman doesn’t seem fatigued on the ice, as he has scored 3 goals in overtime. Bouchard was named to the CHL’s Top Prospect game which takes place January 25th in Guelph. The OHL Defenceman of the Month of November registered with 5 goals and 18 points, with a +15 on the month.
Expect to hear the name Evan Bouchard a few more times before his OHL career is over. He will be selected in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Bouchard could have another stint on the international level with Hockey Canada next year. Bouchard could be invited to the development camp in the summer, and if he impresses enough possibly a spot on Canada’s World Junior Team next year.