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11-20-2003, 07:17 AM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Well, he plays with different guys every night, but that's Lemaire's style. Last night he played with Brandner and Zholtok for most of the game. He's got great vision, but he still gets benched occasionally against the rugged opponents. Surprisingly, he decided to put on some serious weight this summer, but Lemaire called his trainer and said that he didn't want Bouchard putting on more than 7 pounds. Apparently, they don't want him above 165 or so.
Right now he's playing wing most of the time, not center. Lemaire isn't sure that PM can handle the defensive responsibilities of a center in his trap scheme, but PM is tugging at the leash a bit on that. He wants to get back to center. He usually leads the PPs 1st unit along the half-boards.
He looks much better than he did last year. I certainly don't think he's hit a wall. He'll get 40-50 points this year. Probably a dozen goals and 30 assists, somewhere around there. He's already got 12-13 points. Top-end potential would be 80-90 points. Probable potential would be 70 points, with about 25 goals. This kid is gonna rack up some monster assist numbers, but he doesn't have a lot of finishers to work with right now. He usually doesn't play with Gabby because the line would be a little soft. I see him more as a top-liner than 2nd liner, but that's just because there is very little grit to his game. He isn't afraid to go digging along the boards, but he's a playmaker all the way. It's obvious other teams respect his playmaking. On the PP, he and Brunette can just pass the puck back and forth all day from the half-boards to the end-boards. Teams never rush either player for fear that someone will slide down and get the puck.
Just my personal opinions.
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