Glen Sather has announced the signing of former Albany (AHL) defender Joel Bouchard. Bouchard appeared in 1 game for the Devils last year adding one assist. In 70 games with Albany, Bouchard totaled 9 goals and 22 assists. Bouchard a 203 pounder out of Montreal is a bruising defenseman who can carry the puck and has decent on ice vision. He looks to fit into the no.6 or 7 defender in New York and gives the Rangers what they have been looking for…a bruiser to compliment the many puck rushers.
While Bouchard is not a lock for a job in New York his signing will push incumbent Dale Purinton for ice time. Thus the squeeze is on for Tutin, Kloucek and Mottau as each will really have to bring their “A” games in order to make the club. As of now it appears Kloucek and Purinton will have the most work to do as Mike Mottau(the new Barry Richter?) is either destined again for Hartford or likely to be dealt at the start of camp. Tutin is still a year away from a serious shot at the big club.
Bouchard originally out of the Calgary system has also played for Nashville, Dallas and Phoenix totalling 277 NHL games with 15 goals, 45 points and 217 pims.