Top 25 Under 25, #24: Tyler Boucher
The 2021 10th overall pick struggled this year, but showed promise
Hello and welcome back to Silver Seven’s Top 25 Under 25 ranking. We’ll be profiling one of the top 25 players in the Sens’ organization who are under the age of 25, in reverse order, until we crown the new number one.
Today, we’re talking about a player that I’m sure you’ve heard about, because it seems physically impossible for Sens fans to stop arguing about him.
#24. Tyler Boucher (Reader Rank: 20, Last Year: 21)
Poor Tyler Boucher has had a rough start to his time as an NHL prospect, dropping four spots in our ranking after a difficult 2021-2022 season. Boucher has had unfairly high expectations placed on him ever since the Sens went way off the board to draft him tenth overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Since that time, every one of his failures has been magnified; from being cut from the US world junior team - twice, because they had to re-do the tournament - to scoring only 3 points in 17 NCAA games.
His draft position will always going to affect public perception but he’s still a prospect in the organization, and one with seemingly a pretty good chance of seeing time in the NHL soon.
Boucher’s main selling point is his size and physical style of play, something that typically translates well to NHL hockey. He’s the type of low ceiling, high floor player that the Sens have often opted for under Trent Mann at the draft. A lot of Sens fans are probably hoping he turns into a player like Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson.
The start of his NCAA career in 2021-22 presented Boucher with an opportunity to prove people wrong after all of the noise around his selection. Unfortunately, his brief stint with Boston University went about as badly as possible, as he struggled massively to produce offense, with just two goals and one assist in seventeen games - worst among forwards on his team, and well below expectations for a top NHL prospect. His most notable plays were big and often questionably legal hits. One of them did earn him a one-game suspension.
It makes sense, then, that Boucher opted to drop out after one semester and come to Ottawa to play for the Ottawa 67s of the CHL. Based on the interviews he gave about the change, it sounds like he’s been getting a lot of support from the Sens organization, and was looking forward to being closer to the team. It seemed like a much better situation for a player who was unfortunately struggling to live up to expectations.
Unfortunately, Boucher’s D+1 season continued to be cursed, as he was injured in his first OHL game and missed a few weeks.
Upon his return, however, Boucher did manage a perfectly respectable 7 goals and 7 assists in 24 games. He stood out for - you guessed it - his physical play. He also played through injuries and was one of the best forwards on the team down the stretch, including during their brief playoff stint. 67s fans and coach Dave Cameron seem to love him.
It’s been a rough year, but the good news for Boucher is that there’s no rush for him to become an NHL’er. The Sens have plenty of options at forward and can certainly take their time with Boucher’s development. He’s become a bit of an underdog story, so it would be great if he could put it all together and become a solid bottom-six contributor. For now, he falls near the bottom of our rankings; the only way to go is up.