“The KHL isn’t an easy league, and my goals are simply the result of the whole team’s work. I just had to put it in the net,” the forward told KHL.ru after the 8-2 win over Amur on Monday. In his first three games in his new league, Boucher scored 4 (3+1) points. Just for a quick and dirty comparison, Nigel Dawes only had 2 (1+1) points in his first three games with Barys, while Justin Azevedo had only one tally when Lev Prague defeated Vityaz with a 4-1 score on Sep. 17, 2013.
Reid Boucher was born in Grand Ledge, Michigan, on Sep. 8, 1993 — he is just turned 27 years old. As many other great American prospects, he was recruited in the USNTDP, where he spent two seasons. In his second year with the development program, Boucher helped the Americans winning gold at the 2011 U18 WJC in Germany. With Team USA down 3-2 at less than two minutes to the horn, Boucher tied the game at three; then the Americans secured their win in OT. The forward was the second goalscorer of the tournament, topped only by Russian superstar Nikita Kucherov.
However, that U18 victory would be the only title Boucher won. He then stopped being called to the national team and missed the U20 competition. After his phenomenal performance in Germany, Boucher moved up to Canada to play in the OHL. He didn’t impress much in his first season, but in the second, he was again on the top as he led the league with 62 goals in 68 regular-season games. In the meantime, he was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 2011 Entry Draft with a fourth-round pick.
His goal-scoring talent, however, wasn’t enough to secure him a full-time spot in the NHL. In the AHL, he was a superstar as he was in junior hockey, but in the NHL, when players often aren’t guaranteed a scoring-line spot, he struggled. Boucher went on playing 133 games in the NHL with the Devils, the Nashville Predators, and the Vancouver Canucks, earning a decent loot of 42 (20+22) points. His production and his minus-33 career rating added to his size, in an era when hockey was more physical than he is today, caused him to fall off the NHL radar. In the AHL, however, he was excellent. Boucher posted three consecutive seasons with more than a point a night, emerging as one of the best players in the league and playing in the All-Star Game in all these campaigns.
However, after his success in the AHL, Boucher decided to pursue a new challenge and signed in the KHL with Avangard Omsk, bringing his excellent shooting abilities to a stacked lineup. Bob Hartley give Boucher a leading role right away, and the native of Michigan already started delivering. With three goals in his first three games, Boucher is now leading the Hawks, tied with Sergei Shumakov, but is already on top of the league with two game-winning tallies. If Boucher keeps on scoring at this pace, Hartley will give him an even bigger role, and the Hawks will be looking for their second Gagarin Cup finals appearance under the rule of the Canadian bench boss.