OTTAWA – Tyler Boucher’s decision to sign his first NHL contract was not taken lightly.
Boucher recently signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators and will leave Boston University’s program to play with the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s.
It was a surprising move for the 10th overall pick at the 2021 NHL draft, which was in its first year in BU.
The 18-year-old right winger, a product of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, looked forward to playing for the Terriers, but decided within a few short months that a change might be best for him.
In 17 games with BU, he had three points (two goals, one assist) and team-leading 34 penalty minutes.
In a call with local Ottawa media Thursday morning, Boucher said he started thinking about his options about a month ago.
“It wasn’t really something I wanted to leave,” Boucher said. “It was just a kind of opportunity that we thought about going in for Christmas.
“By being at BU, I was always all in on BU. When I was there, we were focused on winning. I was not really thinking anywhere else at the time, it was just a little bit of waiting for the break to think about it, because, as I said, I’m on a team and I owe it to them to be there every day and not think of other options. ”
Boucher said it was difficult to make the decision to leave BU, especially having to leave his teammates.
“It’s definitely the hardest part about leaving, but I felt this was best for me,” he said. “I’ve definitely been thinking about it long and hard, and I’m fine with it.”
Boucher committed to BU almost five years ago. The university experience was not exactly what he had expected.
“I think I went through a little bit of adversity,” Boucher said. “I do not think it went as I thought it should go, but it’s probably part of hockey. It’s not always going to be good, and I felt it might not be the best thing for me, and as I said, I’m excited about a new opportunity in Ottawa, so I’m looking forward to it. ”
Boucher was recently tested positive for COVID-19 and is unlikely to be able to travel to Canada until January 6th. Boucher’s father, Brian, a former NHL goalie, was also positive, ensuring a calm family Christmas.
He will initially be associated with the Belleville Senators of the American hockey league before joining the 67s.
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion met with the media earlier this week to announce the signing and said the team is excited to see him play in the OHL.
“Every team and every situation can be good,” Dorion said. “We’ve had college-level players who have developed very well. You have to take each situation individually. When you look at a guy like Tyler Boucher and how he plays the game, it probably suits his type of game to play major junior.
“He’s going to play with players who are close to his own age, he’s a very physical player and we do not hope he gets suspended too much, because when he strikes, he strikes hard. I like it “way he will be able to go to the net and score goals. The ’67s will play him where they have to play him. There were no promises. I think they are quite excited.”
Boucher is excited to join the 67s, and although there are still details to be worked out, including his living conditions, the young forward was able to speak briefly with head coach Dave Cameron, who had coached Team Canada at World Junior Tournament in Edmonton, AB.
“We’ve talked about where I should fit in, but again I have to earn it on a new team and nothing will be given to me.”
Playing for the ’67s should give Boucher an opportunity to become familiar with the city of Ottawa and facilitate his ability to communicate with senators’ leadership.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 30, 2021.