Reid Boucher, who made his mark scoring goals at the major junior level, will make his NHL debut tonight when the New Jersey Devils host the Montreal Canadiens at the Prudential Center. The Habs defeated the Devils, 3-2, on Monday night in Montreal.
According to NJ.com, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said fans should expect Boucher to play.
"He'll be in the lineup tonight," Lamoriello said. "We'll put him in a situation. Scoring-wise he's had success down there and he's been playing extremely well. So he'll get an opportunity tonight.”
Boucher, a 5'11'', 187-pound left-handed left wing, hails from Lansing, Mich. After playing two years with the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) in Ann Arbor, Mich., he spurned a scholarship offer to nearby Michigan State University to instead skate for the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League.
He scored 24 goals in 47 games with the USNTDP and its Under-17 and Under-18 teams. In two seasons with the Sting, however, he tallied 90 goals and 145 points in 135 games, including 62 goals in 68 outings last season to break Steven Stamkos’ single-season Sarnia record of 58 goals set back in 2007-08.
Boucher was a fourth-round choice (99th overall) by New Jersey in the 2011 NHL Draft, and the 20-year-old actually made his professional debut in a one-game appearance with the American Hockey League’s Albany Devils during the 2011-12 campaign.
He has 10 goals and eight assists in 21 contests with Albany this season, and is expected to play on a line with Patrik Elias and Steve Bernier tonight, according to another NJ.com piece.
“I was a little surprised it was now,” Boucher said, “but I’ve been playing pretty good hockey so far and I’m on a bit of a run of points. I’m just happy I got the call. I’ve been playing pretty well down there. “There’s a little bit of pressure but I just have to do the best I can with the opportunity that’s given to me.”
His goal-scoring prowess, if it translates to the NHL level, would be useful on a New Jersey team that is still flirting with the .500 mark (11-12-5 overall) and has scored just 13 goals in its last six games. Five of those goals came in Friday’s 5-2 win at Carolina, just the second time this season that the Devils have scored more than four goals in a game.
UPDATE: Boucher had an assist on New Jersey's second goal, and also scored the Devils' lone shootout tally in a 4-3 SO loss to the Habs.