Skip to content

Boucher makes tough decision in signing entry-level contract with Senators

OTTAWA — Tyler Boucher's decision to sign his first NHL contract was not made lightly.

OTTAWA — Tyler Boucher's decision to sign his first NHL contract was not made lightly.

Boucher recently signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators and will be leaving 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, who was in his first year at BU.

The 18-year-old right-winger, a product of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, was looking forward to playing for the Terriers, but in just a few short months decided a change might be best for him.

In 17 games with BU he had three points (two goals, one assist) and a 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 where I was like I want to leave," Boucher said. “It was just kind of an option that we were thinking of going into Christmas. 

"Being at BU, I was always all in at BU. When I was there, we were focused on winning. I wasn’t really thinking anywhere else at the time, it was just kind of waiting until the break to think about it because, like I said, I’m on a team and I owe it to them to be there every day and not think about other options."

Boucher said making the decision to leave BU was difficult, especially having to leave his teammates.

“That’s definitely the hardest part in leaving, but I felt this is best for me,” he said. “I definitely thought about it long and hard and I feel good about it.”

Boucher committed to BU nearly five years ago. The university experience wasn’t exactly what he had been expecting.

“I think I went through a little bit of adversity,” Boucher said. “I don’t think it went the way I thought it was going to go, but I guess that’s part of hockey. It’s not always going to be great and I felt maybe it wasn’t the best fit for me and like I said I’m excited for a new opportunity in Ottawa so I’m looking forward to it.”

Boucher recently tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t likely be able to travel to Canada until Jan. 6. Boucher’s father, Brian, a former NHL goaltender was also positive, making for a quiet family Christmas.

He will initially be assigned to the American Hockey League’s Belleville Senators before joining the 67’s.

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 players at the college level who have developed very well. You’ve got to take each situation individually. When you look at a guy like Tyler Boucher, and how he plays the game, playing major junior is probably, fits his type of game more.

“He’s going to be playing with players that are close to his own age, he’s a very physical player and we hope doesn’t get suspended too much because when he hits, he hits hard. I like the way he’ll be able to go to the net and score goals. The 67’s will play him where they need to play him. There were no promises. I think they’re pretty excited."

Boucher is excited to join the 67’s and while there are still details to be ironed out, including his living arrangements, the young forward was able to speak briefly to head coach Dave Cameron, who had been coaching Team Canada at the World Junior Tournament in Edmonton, AB.

“We’ve talked about where I’m going to fit, but again I have to earn it coming into a new team and nothing’s going to be handed to me.”

Playing for the 67’s should provide Boucher with an opportunity to familiarize himself with the city of Ottawa and facilitate his ability to communicate with Senators management. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2021.

Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press