3Xavier Bouchard
Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/CHL Images

Flames fourth round targets: Xavier Bouchard

The Calgary Flames don’t draft from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League all that often. It’s probably not a result of anything except more familiarity with the Western and Ontario junior leagues – they’ve had success with their WHL and OHL draftees that hasn’t materialized with the QMJHL kids.

A year ago, the Flames grabbed a promising (if underachieving) offensive player from the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in D’Artagnan Joly. This year, they should consider one of his teammates: defenseman Xavier Bouchard.

Background

From the scenic town of Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, Bouchard is a big kid – listed at 6’3″ and 190 pounds – who’s a right-shot blueliner. He’s not to be confused with Evan Bouchard (of the OHL’s London Knights) or Xavier Bernard (of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs), both of whom are expected to be drafted in the 2018 NHL Draft as well.

Bouchard has quietly moved his way up the ranks from Quebec’s bantam and midget circuits, debuting as a full-time QMJHLer with the Drakkar last season. He had 34 points as a rookie, including an impressive 30 assists.

2017-18 story

Bouchard’s offense dried up a bit in 2017-18, as he only had 21 points – this despite the Drakkar scoring 21 more goals than they did in his rookie campaign. Despite all this he was second on his team in defensive scoring, as only five players on the entire club cracked 30 points; the Drakkar were a bit top-heavy.

Ben Kerr from Last Word on Sports offered this assessment of Bouchard’s game:

Bouchard is a player with immense skill, but the potential seems a little untapped right now. He needs to bulk up. He also needs to work on simplifying his offensive game, and being a lot more physical in his own zone. There is serious boom potential if he follows the proper development path, but there is also big bust potential here. The team that drafts Bouchard will need to work with him and be patient. Expect at least a 3-4 year project here.

The blueliner has been praised for his hockey sense and his defensive ability, but his offense has been a bit sporadic and the thought process behind selecting him would be that you can bank on his shutdown capabilities and develop his play in the offensive zone a bit.

The numbers

GP G A P Primary points 5v5 Points 5v5 Primary points NHLe
QMJHL 65 3 18 21 12 12 8 6.6

Bouchard was ninth among first-time draft eligible QMJHL defenders in points and 11th in primary points. He was 16th in both categories at five-on-five, so it’s not unfair to say that he’s dependent on special teams opportunities for points.

Fit and availability

Bouchard feels a bit like a Darryl Sutter draft pick, aside from being from Quebec. He’s big. He can play mean. He’s smart defensively. But he’s shown that he can provide some offense from when he was a rookie, so potentially offensive consistency is something that can be nurtured and developed over time. Moreover, he’s a guy that the Flames’ scouts definitely have seen given Joly’s presence on the Drakkar and so they might have some intel on him that other teams don’t have – or they might feel more comfortable with the player due to familiarity.

His lack of progression – and offensive regression – might scare away some teams and ensure his availability for the Flames at 105th or 108th. He’s ranked 91st by Future Considerations and is the 74th-ranked North American skater by Central Scouting. There’s a good chance he’s still on the board when they pick.

2018 fourth round targets

Nando Eggenberger | Eric Florchuk | Liam Kirk | Pavel Gogolev | Ryan O’Reilly | Axel Andersson | Merrick Rippon | Riley Stotts


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  • Squishin

    Lol @ the crickets on these last few articles. I appreciate the efforts of the scouting and research being put into finding “sleepers” at the draft, but I’ve been snoozing through these lately. I guess it’s hard to get worked up when 30 other teams will pick at least three times before the Flames even get one.

    • Alcanivorax

      fair comment

      but how about this perspective:

      It’s a chance to determine how good our scouting is/can be.

      With so few picks and so late can we actually find a sleeper (or 2).

      • Squishin

        We definitely can, especially with the good amateur scouts in the org. And for those who want to nerd out about the draft, go for it. My point was that I’ll be paying way more attention to these writeups once I know who the Flames actually draft, and I think a lot of people here are the same way.