The Edmonton Oilers re-upped restricted free agent defenseman Evan Bouchard with a two-year contract carrying an average annual value of $3.9 million, the team announced Thursday.
Bouchard will remain an RFA at the end of the new deal. He can’t become a UFA until 2027.
The 23-year-old recorded 43 points in 2021-22 and 40 points last season but caught fire down the stretch in 2022-23 after the Oilers made a key trade with the Nashville Predators. Edmonton brought in Mattias Ekholm and immediately partnered him with Bouchard. Tyson Barrie was sent the other way, allowing Bouchard to quarterback Edmonton’s top power-play unit.
The move proved exceptional, as Bouchard racked up 36 points in 33 regular season and playoff contests after the deal. He’s projected to play with Ekholm again at five-on-five and run the Oilers’ star-studded top power play.
To go along with the offensive production, Bouchard’s underlying numbers were strong last season.
Bouchard’s bridge deal compares to those of other up-and-coming RFA defensemen around the league. Colorado Avalanche blue-liner Bowen Byram ($3.85 million AAV) and New York Rangers stalwart K’Andre Miller ($3.872 million AAV) both signed two-year deals this offseason, too.
The signing puts the Oilers over the salary cap, but when the season begins they can become compliant by optioning a player to the minors and trimming the roster down to 19 skaters.
The Oilers drafted Bouchard 10th overall in 2018.
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