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Free agent roundup: Philippe Boucher

Philippe Boucher

#43 / Defenseman / Pittsburgh Penguins



Mar 24, 1973

2008 - Philippe Boucher 41 3 6 9 6 39 0 0 0 0 66 4.5

In November 2008 a very lateral move was made, the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired veteran defenseman Philippe Boucher ($2.5 million salary) from Dallas for veteran defenseman Darryl Sydor (with a $2.5 million salary). And while Sydor went on to post 2 goals, 11 assists and a reasonable +/- of -2 (on a disappointing Dallas team), the Penguins can still think they got the better of the deal, even if Boucher only dressed 34 total times.

Boucher was limited by a foot surgery, in 25 regular season games he recorded 3g, 3a and was +10. Boucher also threw 81 hits, more than any defenseman besides Brooks Orpik (309) or Kris Letang (111). Boucher averaged 20:06 ice-time per game, including 2:19 on the PP (4th on the team amongst blueliners behind Letang, Sergei Gonchar and Alex Goligoski) and Boucher played 2:00/game shorthanded (more than Letang). So he's a veteran that pretty much did everything and anything well, even if he clearly isn't the player he was a couple years ago.

Going back to the old defensive depth chart/lineup right now, we're currently looking at:







General Manager Ray Shero's philosophy is to have 10 NHL capable defensemen. And, no offense to Deryk Engelland or Jon D'Aversa, but they're not capable, proven NHL'ers. We all hope that Shero can lasso Rob Scuderi back, but it's entirely possible Reliable Rob will scoot into free agency and pickup a relatively monster contract. The Pens will be needing to replace defensemen at some point.

So what gives? Boucher, at a much more reduced rate than his $2.5 million, could make a great depth defenseman for the Penguins. Pittsburgh already has Gonchar, Letang and Goligoski in "puck moving roles" and only Orpik and Mark Eaton in "physical/defensive defenseman roles" so it would seem they need a little more muscle and grit out of that last roster spot that Boucher probably can't give for 82 games. Plus, since Boucher was servicable, it's very likely a weaker team in the league offers him a legit role in their defense for next year. So even if the Pens are interested in Boucher, he might have a better option than being a depth guy on a solid team.

So what's your stance on Philippe Boucher?