Update On Potential Evan Bouchard Contract Revealed

The Edmonton Oilers and Evan Bouchard have still yet to come to terms on a new deal for the emerging blueline star. The restricted free agent is somewhat...restricted in what the team can offer him, given its tough cap constraints. 

But ever since the Oilers' other RFA Ryan McLeod came to terms on his deal over a week ago, it was thought that a Bouchard announcement would come shortly thereafter. But as of Monday night, that's still not the case. 

According to Oilers beat writer Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal, although the term (two years) and final AAV number on the contract might not be too much in doubt anymore (Leavins cites $3.9M), he posits that the distribution of the funds might be what's holding up a deal. 

It's thought that Bouchard's camp might be looking to have the Oilers backload the deal with a higher number in Year 2, thereby leading to a higher qualifying offer after the 2024-25 season. 

However, the way Bouchard has broken through as a top-scoring D and power play quarterback, posting 40+ points in back-to-back seasons, and an astounding 17 points in 12 playoff games this past spring, it seems pretty clear at this point that his next contract will come with an AAV that far exceeds whatever that qualifying offer might be. 

Bouchard finished the 2022-23 season with 40 points in 82 games. But it was the way he elevated his game to a completely new level after he was paired with Mattias Ekholm after the latter was obtained at the trade deadline, that shows his full potential. The 23-year-old registered 19 points in the final 21 games of the season, and boosted his TOI from 18 minutes per game to over 20 minutes. 

Bouchard's bridge deal will get done soon enough, and will certainly only be a harbinger of what's to come for the talented young D-man. 

Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports