Rookie Mid-Terms: Evan Bouchard's success is a promising story of player development
Even as Evan Bouchard lit up the OHL in his draft year and walked the stage as the 10th overall pick in 2018, there were skeptics. Even his most strident critics weren't blind to the promise of his profile, but his skating, motor, and decision-making tempered their enthusiasm.
"Does he lack mobility or just urgency?"
"Can he learn to defend at an NHL level?"
"Will his barrage shooting work at higher levels?"
These were the questions at the centre of the debate on Bouchard's merits as an NHL prospect.
Four years later, he's reached the NHL and even rewarded the team that drafted him with full-time minutes in the Edmonton Oilers lineup. Just as with the OHL's London Knights before, he now leads the team in scoring for defencemen with 19 points in 35 games.
And so, it's time for a preliminary evaluation. Were Bouchard's draft-year weaknesses overblown? Do they still arise at the NHL level? Or did the player and team address them through strong development?
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