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Evan Bouchard: The First Pass – Blueprint of an Offensive Defenseman’s Success

By Enio Sacilotto

In the fast-paced world of hockey, the offensive defenseman has become increasingly vital to a team’s success. Evan Bouchard of the Edmonton Oilers exemplifies this role with exceptional skills and on-ice intelligence. His ability to make the first pass is a key to his success.  Let’s break down the key elements that make Bouchard a standout player who can make the first pass.

  1. Fundamental Passing and Receiving Skills

Mastery of the puck is the first step to success. Bouchard’s ability to execute crisp, accurate passes and receive the puck under pressure sets the foundation for his game.  Coaches and players need to pay more attention to the importance of proper passing and receiving technique.  We start all our practises with passing and receiving drills, emphasizing and demanding players use proper technique.

  1. Awareness

Hockey is a game of split-second decisions. Bouchard’s constant vigilance—head up, shoulder checking—ensures he’s always aware of his surroundings, allowing him to make smart plays.

  1. Deception

A little trickery can go a long way. Bouchard’s use of fakes and look-offs during puck retrievals keeps opponents guessing, creating opportunities for his team.

  1. Simplicity

Sometimes, the best play is the simplest one. Bouchard maintains the Oilers’ momentum by opting for the easy pass or shot, reducing the risk of turnovers.

  1. Communication

On the ice, every second counts, and clear verbal and non-verbal communication can be the difference between a win and a loss. Bouchard’s ability to coordinate with his teammates is a testament to his leadership.

  1. Composure

The pressure of the game can be intense, but Bouchard remains calm, relaxed, and collected, a trait that not only steadies his play but also reassures his teammates.

  1. Mobility

Quick feet are essential for an offensive defenseman. Bouchard’s agility in moving on puck retrievals and transition plays is a crucial aspect of his defensive and offensive contributions.

  1. Quick Transition

The ability to switch from defence to offence—and vice versa—at lightning speed is what often catches opponents off-guard. Bouchard’s rapid thinking and movement when gaining possession of the puck enable the Oilers to capitalize on fleeting opportunities.

Evan Bouchard’s impact on the ice combines skill, awareness, and mental fortitude. As the Oilers continue their journey, Bouchard’s role as an offensive defenseman will undoubtedly be a cornerstone of their strategy. His performance in the playoffs has been remarkable, quietly amassing points at a rate that could see him challenge records. With such a promising career ahead, Bouchard is not just a player to watch but a player to learn from for any aspiring hockey defenseman.

Improve your skills by attending our Defensemen Camp.

Enio Sacilotto is President of International Hockey Camps and operates the Mental Edge High-Performance Training. Enio has 42 years of coaching experience (professional hockey in Europe and the Victoria Royals (WHL)). Currently, he coaches at the Burnaby Winter Club Hockey Academy, is the Croatian National Men’s hockey team coach and is the Associate Coach with the Grandview Steelers. If you have questions or are interested in his services, contact Enio at or call 604 255 4747. Website: