Here in the EOTP community we rode Francis Bouillon pretty hard last season. It wasn't so much about Bouillon, but about his usage by the coaching staff. However, what was lost in all the complaining was that Bouillon had one of the best seasons of his career, both in tough zone starts with Subban, and in a sheltered role without him. For a third-pairing defenseman, there isn't really much to complain about at even strength. Aside from the two goals he scored on his own team, but let's ignore that.
The soon-to-be 38-year-old had his first fully healthy year of his career, which no doubt helped him play better than previous years. Should he spend even one second on the powerplay? No. Should he be playing 18 minutes a game? No. But he is still, by all measures, a serviceable NHLer. Can he continue to be though?
In the following graph, the blue line is Bouillon's even-strength Fenwick percentage from 2007 to 2013, the red line is his team's even-strength Fenwick percentage without him on the ice, and the green line is Bouillon's offensive-zone start percentage, giving us insight into his usage and role. All statistics are at even strength, and all are rolling 10-game averages. What this means is that aside from the first 10 points in the graph, every point represents a 10-game sample, giving us a better grasp of trends.
With all that information on one graph, it can look a little messy and be tough to decipher, so I've included trend lines for each statistic. To understand the trend lines, blue turns into black, red turns into yellow, and green turns into purple. The x-axis is simply the games to represent time, and the y-axis is the percentage in decimal form, and the placement of the y-axis is the beginning of the 2013 season.
As much as Bouillon was sheltered last year, he was less sheltered than most of the rest of his career. He also had the best possession season of his career, which is pretty astounding for a 37-year-old, even with the caveat of being paired with Subban for 15 or so games.
Judging by what we've seen from Tinordi to date, Bouillon should be no more than the sixth defenseman on the roster by a couple of weeks into the season, but I think we all know that he'll continue to get some favouritism from Michel Therrien.
His offensive game is virtually non-existent, which is annoying considering he'll once again get powerplay minutes (Why? Therrien, why?), but his defensive game is surprisingly good for the role he plays. Bouillon even managed decent numbers while shorthanded last season, which hopefully means that he'll be good enough to keep our last profiled player out of the lineup.