When the New York Islanders signed him to a $2 million contract during the summer, they were taking a small chance on Pierre-Marc Bouchard to return to his old self. In past seasons, Bouchard has been known as an underrated hockey player. At his best and fully healthy, Bouchard averaged 40 assists and 55+ points a season. Not that those are staggering numbers and definitely not numbers of an elite scorer, but Bouchard still had good numbers for a second or third line center. Injuries have slowed his production down the last few seasons, which would explain why the Islanders were able to get him for cheap. In the four games he has played on Long Island, Bouchard hasn’t produced anything at all.
In the games he has played this year, Bouchard has no points, two penalty minutes, and one shot on goal. Those numbers look pretty bad. With the playing time he has gotten over the first few games, Bouchard hasn’t stood out among the rest of his teammates. He seems to just sort of blend into the background, not really being much of a factor.
It’s only five games into the season, four of which Bouchard has played in. There’s no real reason to hit any kind of panic button with him just yet. Like I said, he is coming off injury problems the past few seasons. At one point, Bouchard missed a stretch of 113 games, due to dealing with post concussion syndrome. He was able to play most of the last two seasons, but you could tell his game hasn’t been the same.
Now he’s four games into his Islanders career with an unimpressive stat line. I know the numbers haven’t been there yet, but fans need to give the guy time to get settled. Sure he had all of training camp to get acclimated, but he only has four games under his belt with the team. It’s an 82 game season, and there is still a long way to go. The talent is still there; it has been all along. Bouchard just needs to be able to get his confidence back in his game. Give him time, be patient and he will find his game again. Bouchard will return to form and once again become a 40+ assist man in this league.