The post Evan Bouchard Redefining Himself as an Elite D-Man for the Oilers appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

There are some big names on the 2023-24 Edmonton Oilers roster. The team has must-see players in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who continue to wow and put up insane numbers in both the regular season and the playoffs. Quickly climbing the charts is defenseman Evan Bouchard.

Just two seasons ago, Bouchard was an afterthought. Tyson Barrie was the power-play quarterback and Bouchard was the offensively gifted blueliner with a big shot but no guaranteed NHL future. Today, he is delivering clutch performance after clutch performance, with timely goals that play a pivotal role in the team’s playoff success. Tuesday night was another example, scoring in the final minute of the third period to even the Oilers’ playoff series with the Canucks.

???? EVAN BOUCHARD WINS IT ????

His game-winning goal with just 39 seconds left in regulation seals the deal for the @EdmontonOilers as they tie the series in Game 4! #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/UzCK0xtpGx

— NHL (@NHL) May 15, 2024

The Canucks score what could have been a crippling goal in the late stages of the third. Not deterred, Bouchard wasted no time, unleashing a decisive strike just 58 seconds later, in what might be remembered as the goal that turned the tide if the Oilers come back to win this series. When asked how he was able to stay composed, he responded, that it wasn’t ideal for Vancouver to score late and tie the game. But, there was no time to sulk. The Oilers could still win the hockey game, which they did.

Bouchard is Setting Records and a New Bar

Bouchard’s contribution hasn’t been just this one goal. With an impressive stat line that included a game-winning goal, two points, and a notable +2 rating, he showcased his defensive and offensive firepower again — something he has done all playoffs. He has been a top performer in the NHL postseason and leads all defensemen in playoff scoring.

Related: Pickard and Bouchard Clutch as Oilers Even Series with Canucks

With a staggering 13 points in just 10 games, Bouchard is poised, with no moment too big. He’s got exceptional skill and is making an impact on the ice both offensively and defensively, leading the Oilers in minutes played. He also leads the Oilers in plus/minus, highlighting his importance to the team’s defensive stability and trust he can handle the responsibility.

Evan Bouchard Oilers 2024 NHL Playoffs

Bouchard’s playoff pedigree continues to grow, with his latest feat propelling him into elite company among NHL defensemen. With a remarkable career playoff points-per-game average, he ranks second only to legendary Bobby Orr, cementing his place among the game’s greatest talents.

Oilers Have a Future Norris Trophy-Winning Defenseman in Bouchard

As the Oilers clinched a crucial victory in Game 4, Bouchard’s pivotal role in securing the win cannot be overstated. His goal not only brought his team back into the series, but he’s getting involved in every area of the game. This is a player who is cool, calm, collected, and read of the big stage.

He no longer needs a player like Duncan Keith or Mattias Ekholm to stabilize him. He’s come into his own. He proved everyone wrong who thought he couldn’t quarterback a power play and stuck it in the face of those who thought he was one-dimensional.

His next contract is going to be a beast, but the Oilers will cross that bridge when they come to it.

Next: Maple Leafs Coaching Change: Why a Cynic Should Doubt This New Direction

The post Evan Bouchard Redefining Himself as an Elite D-Man for the Oilers appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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