Kulfan, Niyo interview Evan Bouchard, preview the draft

The NHL draft offers a rare opportunity to pursue an avenue of discussion that one simply can’t regarding free agents or trades–there is no “tampering,” so you can openly ask a player what they’d think about going to team X.

It’s no secret that the scuttlebutt around the Red Wings suggests that the team is leaning toward drafting London Knights defenseman Evan Bouchard 6th overall in Dallas next month, and so, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan took that idea to a we-can-actually-have-this-conversation conclusion;

Kulfan spoke with Bouchard about possibly being drafted by the Red Wings, he spoke with TSN’s Craig Button about Bouchard’s “fit” with the Wings, and Kulfan and fellow scribe John Niyo made Bouchard the focus of a pre-draft podcast, also bringing in NTDP players Oliver Wahlstrom, Joel Farabee and Mattias Samuelsson for interviews. It’s all very clever and very well-done.

Here’s what Bouchard had to say to Kulfan in text form:

“It would be very exciting to become a Red Wing,” said Bouchard, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound right-shot defenseman who had a familiarity with the Wings’ former rink. “I’ve been to a few games at Joe Louis Arena. When I was younger I was able to skate on it (on the ice). It was obviously special.”

Bouchard is generally considered a lock to be a top-10 selection in June’s draft — something that was no sure thing entering the season.

But in 67 games this season Bouchard had 25 goals and 62 assists, while averaging over 25 minutes per game.

In his third season of junior hockey Bouchard took advantage of a bigger role given to him by the coaching staff and thrived, going from a possible late-first round selection to being a lottery pick.

A committed, sweat-drenched summer working and preparing for this past season helped, too.

“I knew it was a big year for me,” Bouchard said. “I worked hard to get where I am now, and the confidence building into the third year, when guys (on London left for the NHL) there was a leadership role for me. The coaches and teammates supported me, and it helped me having the team we had and the teammates I had.”

Kulfan continues, speaking with Craig Button about Bouchard’s profile before wrapping things up with Bouchard…

And in audio/video form, Kulfan and Niyo speak about the draft for 45 minutes, starting with Bouchard and Button, and then moving on to the trio of U.S. NTDP program prospects:

Again, I’m impressed with both the effort and ingenuity involved in asking the probably-favored pick whether he’d like to come to Detroit and profiling him in-person. Smart stuff.


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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

14 thoughts on “Kulfan, Niyo interview Evan Bouchard, preview the draft”

  1. Larry Murphy is probably the worst comparison I’ve heard thus far.

    It’s odd so little is said about Dobson. He has similar size as Bouchard, also shoots right, and is regarded as a better skater.

    One scout said Bouchard will definitely be a top 4 guy, but his ceiling is likely a #2. Whereas Dobson at least has the potential to become a true #1 guy. The difference being his better skating. Also worth noting that Bouchard is among the oldest guys in his draft year. That’s always a red flag for me. Doesn’t mean a Q4 birthday can’t develop into a star, but just something to note. Brady Tkachuk is in the same boat. I believe he was 4 hours away from being elligible last year. So buyer beware on him…

      1. There is plenty of interesting analysis based on date of birth. I was very clear that what month you were born doesn’t prevent anyone from developing into a star, but simply shared my view that being older than many of your peers was a red flag for me. I’m also not the first to point that out, specifically regarding Tkachuk.

        Who would you select Biv…Bouchard or Dobsob or Boqvist or Hughes? Hockey talk…

          1. Bouchard: full package but average speed. Think about that for a second. He’s average, not slow. Average cuts it in the NHL.
            Dobson: If the need is a guy with some offense who plays defense first.
            Hughes: Offensive upside but defensive liability.
            Boqvist: Out of the four, he’s the best offensively (people say). Defensively I’ve heard he’s a bit like Hicketts. That might make the concussions problematic.

            There you go Fatty. How about some Hockey Talk.

            What I find interesting is all the talk Detroit is doing about Bouchard. Is this Holland’s MO? Talk about one thing (signing Smith), then do another (trade Smith)? Or is Holland showing everyone what he wants because, you know, his dumb?

    1. “Larry Murphy is probably the worst comparison I’ve heard thus far.”
      Let’s keep it in context here……
      ““Larry Murphy,” Button said, when asked a player who reminds him of Bouchard. “Doesn’t play with a whole lot of fanfare, he won’t be in the highlights every night, but he’ll be on the ice at all the important moments and contribute in significant ways in all areas of the game.”

      I’d completely agree with that comparison the way it is made. Bouchard is not flashy. He’s not described as flashy which is probably because it’s too easy to flashy in other players like him at his age. Bouchard gets it done just the way Murphy did.

      “The difference being [Dobson’s] better skating.”
      Dobson is also regarded more for his defensive play then his offensive play. He’s probably going to be a 1st pair shut down guy with some offensive upside rather then what he’s been compared to: Pietrangelo.

      We all know Detroit needs offense from the blueline.

      “Also worth noting that Bouchard is among the oldest guys in his draft year.” Quinn Hughes is actually 6 days older then Bouchard. We didn’t hear you make that comment about Hughes the other day nor now. huh?

      1. “Quinn Hughes is actually 6 days older then Bouchard.”

        Good catch. Ouchies.

      2. My post was about Bouchard versus Dobson. I noted Bouchard was one of the oldest players in the draft. What does Hughes’ age have to do with any of this? In other news, Petr Klima is about 36 years older than Hughes. Just as relevant…

        1. “What does Hughes’ age have to do with any of this?”

          I’m just saying if you think age is a problem with Bouchard then it should have been a problem with Hughes…..but you never mentioned it as a problem……….

          “In other news, Petr Klima is about 36 years older than Hughes. Just as relevant…”

          Yep, typical response from you. So much for Hockey talk, you just keep feeling like a victim, okay?

          1. Where did I say we should select Hughes? Seriously dude. You look for problems and arguments when none exist. I’m comparing Bouchard to Dobson. Show me where I said we should select Hughes…

          2. “Seriously dude. You look for problems and arguments when none exist. ”
            What ever. I am done talking to you about this. Next.

  2. Born on a Friday the 13th? Don’t even ask Lou Lamoriellio.

    Also, Datsyuk is cursed!

      1. He says it’s because he took the 13 train and the 13 bus as a kid.

        ..I’m starting to think there is more to this “Magic” stuff. Could Datsyukian be code for black magic?

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