Dynamite D-man

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars defenceman Philippe Boucher has always had offensive potential.

Yet for some reason it didn't really blossom until after the lockout.

"I'm not sure why that is," Boucher said. "Maybe the new rules allow defenceman to be more involved offensively from the point.

NOT SURE WHY

"I also notice as I get older I tend to use my shot better. When I was younger I would just throw it at the net as often as I could and I wasn't as effective as I am now. Other than that, I'm not sure why.

"It could be that I'm getting a little more power play time."

After last night's contest, Boucher, 33, leads the Stars in scoring with 12 goals and 14 assists in 35 games.

Of his 11 goals, seven have come on the power play.

"He's got a big shot and he gets it away quick," said Stars head coach Dave Tippett. "If there's traffic around the net, the one thing he'll do is get it away quick and find a way to get it on net.

"A lot of those goals are ones that either beat the goalie or the goalie doesn't see. He's been a very good player for us."

Boucher was signed by the Stars as a free agent in the summer of 2002. Originally he had been the Buffalo Sabres first pick (13th overall) in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft.

He played just 65 regular-season games with the Sabres before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in a deal that involved both former Oilers Grant Fuhr and Charlie Huddy.

"He was drafted as an offensive defenceman," said Tippett. "He was a young guy trying to establish himself who went through some injury problems. He had a bad ankle and he missed a whole year.

"He came to L.A. and he played very well in L.A. He was playing behind a couple of top offensive players and he was getting secondary power-play time. But you could see those tools were there."

In his first three years with the Stars, Boucher never exceeded the 30-point plateau. His best year was 2002-2003 when he scored seven goals and had 23 assists.

However last season, after the lockout, Boucher scored 16 goals and added 27 assists for 43 points in 66 games.

"What he's done is come in here and establish himself with our team as a very good player, and a very good teammate," Tippett said.

"He's getting thrown into a lot of situations where his skills are coming to the forefront and he's capitalizing on them."

Being an offensive threat is not new to Boucher. The native of St. Apollinaire, Que., once registered 59 points in 49 games in the QMJHL.

POWER PLAY OPTION

However, he is a little surprised that he leads the team in scoring with the likes of Mike Modano, Eric Lindros and Sergei Zubov on the team.

"Hopefully I can keep it going," Boucher said.

"I've had a good stretch, and once you become an option on the power play, guys start looking for you.

''If you take good shots and you hit the net, good things are going to happen for you."


Videos

Photos