Bouchard_Forsling identifies key EDGE stats matchups for the 2024 Stanley Cup Final, which begins June 8, between the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers. Today, we look at the defenseman matchup between Evan Bouchard and Gustav Forsling.

This series matches up full-fledged breakout defenseman Evan Bouchard and arguably the NHL’s best puck-possession and shutdown player at the position in Gustav Forsling.

Bouchard has been one of the most productive players in Stanley Cup Playoff history at his position, ranking second all-time in points per game among defensemen (1.15 in 46 games) behind only Bobby Orr (1.24 in 74 games). Forsling, meanwhile, leads NHL skaters in 5-on-5 shot attempts differential (plus-119) this postseason, slightly ahead of Bouchard (plus-117; second).

Per NHL EDGE stats, Bouchard is leading the League in 90-plus mile per hour shots (22) this postseason, and Forsling ranks second but has fewer than half of that total (nine). Bouchard, who leads all defensemen during the the 2024 postseason in points (27 in 18 games), even-strength points (15) and power-play points (12), is also the leader in long-range shots on goal (29), with Forsling much closer behind in that category (25).

Bouchard leads remaining defensemen in mid-range shots on goal (15), with Forsling fourth on the list at the position but far behind (six). But Forsling, the only other defenseman with a double-digit even-strength point total this postseason (10), leads remaining players at his position in 20-plus mile per hour speed bursts (25), with Bouchard having fewer than half of that total (10).

Forsling, who plays on Florida’s top pair with Aaron Ekblad, is tied for second in even-strength goals (four) this playoffs behind Bouchard (five), who plays on Edmonton’s first unit with Mattias Ekholm. Forsling is tied with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty for the most high-danger goals (two each) among defensemen this postseason, while Bouchard is tied with Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche and Josh Morrissey of the Winnipeg Jets for the most long-range goals (three each) in the League.

Bouchard, who had an NHL career-high in points (82 in 81 games; fourth among defensemen) during this regular season, ranks second among remaining skaters in total skating distance (62.98 miles) this postseason behind only elite center and power-play running mate Connor McDavid (72.55) and also leads NHL defensemen in offensive zone time percentage (48.5) at all strengths.

But the Panthers held high-scoring skaters Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox of the New York Rangers to a combined two goals (one on power play) in six games during the Eastern Conference Final. So Edmonton’s potent power play (leads NHL at 37.3 percent in playoffs) and much-improved even-strength offense (leads League with 39 goals at 5-on-5 this postseason), led by McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Bouchard, will face its toughest task yet against Forsling, center Aleksander Barkov (Selke Trophy winner this season as top defensive forward) and Florida’s deep defense.


Full EDGE stats comparison: Bouchard vs. Forsling


Listen: Stanley Cup Final preview podcast 🎧