The Edmonton Oilers have made two more loans official. Earlier this morning, the club announced that forward Gaetan Haas and defenseman Evan Bouchard have been loaned to European clubs for the start of the 2020-21 season.
Haas will play for SC Bern in the Swiss League, while Bouchard will suit up for Sodertalje SK of the Swedish Allsvenskan. Both Haas and Bouchard are expected to be in Edmonton if/when training camp opens for the 2020-21 season.
Haas has a history with SC Bern. The native of Bonfol, Switzerland played both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons with the club. He scored 41 points (15 g, 26 a) in 47 games in his first year with the club, then posted 38 points (15 g, 23 a) in 50 games in year two. Haas then signed with the Oilers on July 1st, 2019.
In his rookie North American season, Haas played in 58 games and scored ten points (5 g, 5 a). He also appeared in two games last October for the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, scoring a single assist.
Bouchard, meanwhile, played his entire rookie professional season in the AHL with the Condors. In 54 games, the tenth overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft scored 36 points (7 g, 29 a) and finished third in scoring on the Condors.
Bouchard made his NHL debut during the 2018-19 season, making the Oilers out of camp and playing in seven games (1 g, 0 a) before being sent back to London of the OHL. Following the conclusion of his OHL career, Bouchard scored eight points (3 g, 5 a) in eight Calder Cup Playoff games with the Condors.
Bouchard was assigned to Allsvenskan and not the SHL for a distinct reason. Even though Allsvenskan is the second division in Sweden, it makes more sense for him to report there. SHL teams are no longer offering NHL out clauses in contracts. If the Oilers loaned Bouchard to a team in the SHL, they would not have access to him during the upcoming season.
Haas and Bouchard are just the latest two players that GM Ken Holland has assigned to Europe. Forward Joakim Nygard is the other NHL option that has been sent overseas. Nygard returned to Farjestads BK in Sweden, and is also expected to be at training camp this fall should it happen.
Raphael Lavoie (SHL), Dmitri Samorukov (KHL), Kirill Maksimov (KHL), Philip Broberg (SHL), Ryan McLeod (Switzerland NLA), Theodor Lennstrom (SHL), Markus Niemelainen (Liiga) and Filip Berglund (SHL) have also been assigned to Europe.
Samorukov, Lavoie and Berglund will all spend the entire season overseas. The rest could return for a potential training camp this fall.