EDMONTON, AB - Evan Bouchard says Oilers Rookie Camp is his time to prove he is ready to make the jump to the NHL.
"I feel good, I've been working it all summer, improving my speed as the game keeps getting faster," the 18-year-old prospect explained. "The expectations here are to take in as much as I can, learn as much as I can during this process and turn heads while I'm here."
Video: CAMP RAW | Evan Bouchard 09.06.18
"You earn what you get and this league is trending younger and younger and if a young player is ready to play there will be room for him," said Scott Howson, Vice-President of Player Development.
Oilers defenceman Andrej Sekera is out indefinitely due to a torn Achilles tendon. The vacancy left by his injury could give an opportunity for rookie defencemen like Ethan Bear or Bouchard to log some time with the NHL squad.
"I look at it as if you're ready or not, size wise, speed wise… for me I've been training to make that jump all summer," said Bouchard, who was selected 10th overall at the 2018 NHL Draft.
Video: CAMP RAW | Scott Howson 09.06.18
"He's a late birthday so he's had the extra year of junior, so he's only got one year of junior left if he doesn't make this team," Howson explained. "Defence is a hard position to play, we've seen lots of young defencemen come up and struggle, but he's going to get his feet wet at Rookie Camp and get his feet wet during the exhibition season I presume. If he shows well at Rookie Camp then the decision will be made."
Bouchard said he will continue to work on his speed and both the offensive and defensive sides of his game this week, adding he looks forward to learning from camp veterans, like Bear and Kailer Yamamoto.