Well I'm a few days late but just wanted to share my thoughts on Evan Bouchard, his time with the Oiler's and him getting sent back to the London Knights.
First off, Evan Bouchard is a fantastic prospect. His time with the Oiler's this season wasn't a home run but he's showed that he will be in the NHL again in the next few years. The Oiler's heavily sheltered Bouchard during his time in Edmonton and obviously didn't feel comfortable giving Bouchard free reign. He played limited minutes on the third pairing and got a very small amount of powerplay time on the second unit. I'm not surprised to see he didn't have much success with how the Oiler's were deploying him. Still it did seem like Bouchard had a knack for making his defensive partners better when they were on the ice. Bouchard is a very talented puck mover and very offensively minded. I look forward to seeing him next year back in the NHL.
I do feel that Bouchard is NHL ready and if used properly would have had more success. The Oiler's have been desperate for a player like Bouchard and then when they have him they try to force him to be a different player. It's a bizarre scene to watch as a fan. Boucahrd right now would be a vast upgrade over Oscar Klefbom on the powerplay and improving the powerplay could help the Oiler's win more games this year. I'm just a bit frustrated Bouchard didn't get a chance to show that side of his game.
Since the Oiler's weren't utilizing Bouchard and I think that makes sending him back to juniors a good idea. This is an important season of Bouchard's development and no matter where he plays he needs to play lots and have an important role. He will be dominant in juniors this year, play for team Canada at the World Juniors and come back even stronger next season.