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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 01/11/2011

Snootch to the Bouchard

By Ryan Cooper

A few notes

-- The Capitals selected Francois Bouchard in the second round of the 2006 NHL Draft (35th overall). In his career, he’s put up fairly decent numbers (21/31/52 last year, and another 5/5/10 in the playoffs), but I think the most important number he’s put up in his career is zero.

That’s the number of games he’s played in a Capitals uniform -- 0.

There’s a part of me that wonders about a guy who was drafted close to five years ago and has never even gotten a sniff of a call up for the big club. Please note, the purpose of this column is not to demand he be called up, but rather to examine "why"?

In short, I don’t think he’s good enough to gain a spot on the top six here in D.C., but he’s also not defensively sound enough (or in my own vernacular, “grindey” enough) to fit in the bottom six. This makes him almost exactly like Tomas Fleischmann.

So what do you do with a guy like Bouchard?  The only recourse I can see is to maybe package him in whatever deadline dealings GMGM would come up with. There were some howls of outrage last year at the Oskar Osala trade, and I think that turned out okay for the organization (the awfulness of the Joe Corvo Experiment not withstanding).  There’s always the risk of dealing a guy like that, and watching him go somewhere else and dominate, and it happens that way sometimes. But I feel like it’s pretty clear that he’s never going to get a shot here, so why not see what you can get for the guy? And will anyone notice he’s gone?

-- Eric Fehr is criminally underused. He averages around 10 minutes of ice time per game, yet his G/60 is third behind the Alexes, who get a lot more TOI/60, much of it due to them playing almost twice as much on the PP. I understand the lineup is deep and he gets buried a little bit, but with the offense struggling as much as it has, why not try something different and use 16 a little bit more?

-- I’m really looking forward to the Tampa Bay game tomorrow. I was at the game last week, and it really felt like a playoff game. It’s been so long since we’ve had really good games within our division, and it’s actually pretty nice. I know everyone pines for the old Patrick Division games, but this is how you build rivalries in the current age. I still think the NHL should go back to their old Divisional playoff format, though.

By Ryan Cooper  | January 11, 2011; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Capitals, Ryan Cooper  | Tags:  Capitals, Ryan Cooper  
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The headline made me LOL.

Posted by: TheSquire | January 12, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I think it's his skating. If I remember correctly that was an area for improvement when he was drafted, and skating is usually what separates Junior/AHL scorers with guys who can make it to the bigs.

I think he'll be a toss-in for any trades, or, if he survives the deadline as a Cap/Bear probably will not be QO'ed.

Posted by: GFisher1 | January 12, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

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