The Senators announced today the team has signed Boston University forward Tyler Boucher to a three-year, entry-level contract. Boucher was a controversial choice at 10th overall in this year's NHL draft. He now leaves Boston U and will join the Ottawa 67's on January 6th, once he has cleared COVID-19 protocol.
"We're pleased to have Tyler under contract," said Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. "He's a power forward who plays a heavy, physical game. He's driven, is strong with the puck, has a big shot and goes hard to the net. His good hands in tight areas will be of particular benefit to him going forward. We expect him to be an important part of this team's future."
Boucher skated in 29 United States Hockey League contests with the U.S. National Development Program over the two seasons prior to 2021-22 tallying 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) and 60 penalty minutes. He was the Senators' first-round pick (10th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft.
Boucher, 18, is in the midst of his first season with the Boston University Terriers (Hockey East) and has registered three points (two goals, one assist) and a team-leading 34 penalty minutes while skating in 17 of the team's 18 games this season. Boucher clearly wasn't happy with his usage at Boston U.
"Obviously, things weren't going the way he thought the direction should go with Boston University, "said GM Pierre Dorion. "He was pondering maybe leaving. We told him whatever decision he would make we would respect, which was very important for us. And then, in early December...they (his agent, who was then his family advisor) felt going the 67s route was the best option."
On paper only, Boucher will be signed to Belleville for now until he can join the 67s. But if COVID forces the OHL into another stoppage, there is the option to have him play games in the AHL until the 67s get rolling again.
At 10th overall, Boucher was considered a "reach" by many draft analysts and not much has changed since draft day. Most top 20 NHL picks are either playing at the World Hockey Championships or lighting up their amateur club. Or both. Boucher is doing neither. In fact, he wasn't even invited to try out by Team USA.
The Senators are now hoping the shift to the OHL will be a better fit for Boucher, even though discussions about his development may get a little awkward at times. 67s head coach Dave Cameron probably isn't real anxious to spend a ton of time with Dorion – the man who fired him from his one and only NHL head coaching job.
By Steve Warne | Sens Nation Hockey