The Edmonton Oilers are expected to sign defenseman Evan Bouchard to a two-year bridge deal worth $3.9 million per season.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to break the news.
Bouchard is coming off of his second 40-plus-point campaign in the NHL, coming in both of his full-time seasons. Bouchard saw his opportunities rise on the power play after the trade of Tyson Barrie, which saw the Oakville, Ontario native record a career-best 17 points in 12 playoff games. Bouchard has 89 points in 184 career regular season games and 26 points in 28 postseason outings.
The 23-year-old was drafted 10th overall by Edmonton in 2018 after scoring 25 goals and 87 points with the OHL’s London Knights. He got into spot NHL duty the following season before winning the OHL’s most outstanding defenseman award for 2018-19.
The Oilers finished second in the Pacific Division in 2022-23, two points behind the eventual champions, the Vegas Golden Knights. The Oilers finished the season with a nine-game winning streak, with Bouchard being a large part of the success. According to Evolving-Hockey, Bouchard’s 19.5 goals above replacement and 2.5 wins above replacement was good for first among all Oilers defensemen last year.
According to CapFriendly, Bouchard’s deal will put the team $390,000 over the salary cap. The club has 13 forwards signed, with Dylan Holloway – on the last year of his $925,000 AAV entry-level contract – being the lone player who can avoid waivers. Lane Pederson has spent most of his pro career in the AHL and is another potential candidate.
Bouchard was the Oilers’ last remaining RFA, with Holloway, Raphael Lavoie, Philip Broberg and Markus Niemelainen, among others, set to become the same next summer. The top notable pending UFAs will be Warren Foegele, Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown.
Bouchard wil still be an RFA when his deal comes to a close in 2025.