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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Lost Cards: 1986-87 OPC Dan Bouchard

  Dan Bouchard was a second-tier goalie of the late 70s and early 80s.  Originally drafted by the Boston Bruins in 1970, Bouchard was left exposed in the 1972 expansion draft and was selected by the Atlanta Flames.  Bouchard spent the 70s splitting net duties with Phil Myre in Atlanta.  Bouchard was with the Flames as the team moved in Calgary in 1980.  He is only player from Atlanta's inaugural roster to make the journey to Calgary.
  The emergence of younger goalies, Pat Riggin and Reggie Lemelin made Bouchard expendable and the Flames traded Bouchard to the Quebec Nordiques in January of 1981.  Bouchard was the starter for the Nordiques until the 1984-85 season, when former-Olympian Mario Gosselin pushed the veteran to the bench.  Bouchard was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for a 7th round pick, in the 1985 offseason and played his final NHL in 1985-86.  He went overseas to play in Switzerland but suffered a career ending injury seven games into his European career.
Bouchard's final card was an airbrushed 85-86 OPC with him as a Winnipeg Jet.  Below is what his final OPC card should have been, an 86-87 OPC in his Jets uniform.

1986-87 OPC #269 - Dan Bouchard
  I wonder what Bouchard's legacy would have been if the Bruins had kept him.  Prior to the 1972 expansion draft, the Bruins had two Stanley Cup wining goalies on their roster, with Eddie Johnston, and Gerry Cheevers.  Both were on the other side of 30, Johnston was 36 and Cheevers 31.  I'd assume the Bruins felt that they could repeat as Stanley Cup Champs and the veteran Johnston could help them win now as opposed to Bouchard.  One thing the Bruins didn't expect was that the WHA would pillage many NHL teams, signing away their stars with larger contracts, which included Cheevers who left the NHL for greener pa$ture$.  Johnston played another season with the Bruins before being traded to the Blues as the future considerations for an even older goalie, Jacques Plante.  Plante then followed Cheevers example and left to play in the WHA.  Then Gilles Gilbert was the Bruins main goalie for a few season before Cheevers returned.  Bouchard put up superior numbers compared to the Bruins goalies, during the 70s with the exception of wins.  If the Bruins has kept Bouchard, would Bouchard be elevated to a top tier goalie?  Would the Bruins have won another Stanley Cup?

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