The Vancouver Canucks claimed Reid Boucher off waivers in 2017, and ever since arriving, Boucher has torn up the AHL with the Utica Comets. So why hasn’t Boucher been able to crack the Canucks lineup? Let’s take a look.
Reid Boucher came to the Vancouver Canucks via a waiver claim in the 2016-17 season. Once a fourth-round pick by the New Jersey Devils, Boucher marked another player who had shown flashes of greatness that general manager Jim Benning set his sights on, hoping he would be able to figure it all out with a change of scenery.
Boucher tallied 28 goals and 50 points in 67 games played with the Sarnia Sting in his draft plus one year, the 2011-12 season. He then followed that up with 62 goals and 95 points in 68 games with the Sting in the 2012-13 season. Boucher then finished off that season with New Jersey’s AHL affiliate, the Albany Devils, where he tallied three goals and two assists in five games played.
The following season, Boucher played 56 games with Albany where he picked up 22 goals and 16 assists, but only recorded two goals and five assists in his 23 games played with New Jersey that season. The following seasons, he bounced back and forth between Albany and New Jersey, and was claimed off waivers by the Nashville Predators before he was claimed by the Canucks.
On January 1st, 2017, Boucher was placed on waivers by the Predators. The following day, he was reclaimed by the Devils but was again waived on January 3rd. On January 4th, 2017, Boucher was claimed by the Canucks. He played in 27 games that season with the Canucks, tallying five goals and two assists.
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Boucher then spent the majority of the 2017-18 season with the Utica Comets, appearing in 45 games and finishing with 46 points. He played in 20 games for the Canucks that year and recorded just five points. His 25 goals were good enough to set the Comets team record for goals in a single season. He was named to the AHL All-Star team that year.
This past season, Boucher became a huge part of the Utica Comets. In 56 games for the Comets, Boucher netted 31 goals and 31 assists — good for 62 points. So why hasn’t Boucher been able to figure it out at the NHL level? To me, it’s his lack of skating ability. Boucher isn’t a bad skater, but he doesn’t possess the skating abilities of players who are consistent scorers in the NHL.
Boucher has a good shot, you can see it on almost all of the goals he scored this season for the Comets. So if he were to figure out how to get himself more time and space, he could let go of his lethal wrist shot that comes naturally to him in more dangerous areas. At 25 years old, Boucher isn’t getting any younger, and his window to be a part of the Canucks may be closing.
Hopefully Boucher will have some newfound confidence in his game after the huge season he just wrapped up with the Comets where he became the first in franchise history to score 30+ goals in a season and tied the record for most points in a single season. And hey, who knows, maybe Bo Horvat will hook Boucher up with his personal skating coach this offseason?
It will be interesting to see if Boucher is ready to take the next step into the NHL next season. What do you think Canucks fans? Will Boucher ever be a productive NHL scorer, or will he be a career AHL player? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.