Then and Now: Eric Chouinard

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The Vancouver Canucks fell one win short of taking home the Stanley Cup in the 2010-2011 season. After winning the first two games against Boston, the Canucks went on to lose four of the next five allowing the Bruins to win their first Stanley Cup since 1972. Their lone win in the final five meetings came in Game 5, as Maxim Lapierre scored the only goal early in the third period to hand Vancouver a 1-0 victory. Lapierre was taken in the second round during the 2003 NHL Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, a pick the Habs received from the Flyers in exchange for Eric Chouinard.

Spending most of his career in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), Chouinard has taken part in nearly 100 NHL games spanning over four different seasons. Playing in 90 NHL regular-season games, and no playoff games, Chouinard participated in 46 games with the Flyers, barely scoring 10 points overall.

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After being traded to Philadelphia in late January of 2003, Chouinard played in 28 games while scoring four goals and registering four assists. This would be Chouinard’s highest totals in games, PIM, goals, assists, and points for any of the seasons in which he played for the Flyers. His production somehow earned him a two-year contract with the Orange and Black.

Thanks to sportsecyclopedia.com

Despite signing a multi-year pact, Chouinard saw just 18 more games in the Philadelphia organization before being shipped elsewhere. Scoring three goals in 17 games with the Flyers and going pointless in a game with the Phantoms, Chouinard was traded to the Minnesota Wild in the middle of December for a fifth round pick in the 2004 NHL Draft. With said pick, the Flyers picked Chriz Zarb, a defenseman who has only played four games in the AHL and just finished a PIM-filled season with the Dundee Stars of the ELITE Ice Hockey League (EIHL).

Playing in 31 games over the remaining portion of the 2003-2004 season, Chouinard had three goals and four assists as the Wild missed the playoffs and finished 10th in the Western Conference.

As the NHL went through a lockout, Chouinard joined EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Erste Bank Hockey League in Austria. In his 16 games there, Chouinard was teammates with former New Jersey Devil Jay Pandolfo and current New York Islander Marty Reasoner. He’d score five goals and have five assists in his brief break from the NHL. With those 10 points, Chouinard matched his previous season’s point total despite playing in 33 fewer games.

Returning to North America for the 2005-2006 NHL season, Chouinard returned to Philly, but he didn’t stay in Pennsylvania for long. After netting seven goals and seven assists in 24 games with the Phantoms and going pointless in one game with the Flyers, Chouinard was traded by Philadelphia for a second time in his career. This time, he was sent to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Kiel McLeod. Playing in four different leagues over the past four seasons, McLeod has never sniffed NHL action.

Chouinard never played for the Coyotes as he was sent down to their AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, shortly after the trade. He’d have eight goals and 12 assists in 47 games with the Rampage before leaving the AHL and NHL for good at season’s end.

To open the 2006-2007 season, Chouinard tried out for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Russian Super League, which is now the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). After being cut by the team, Chouinard moved on to play a handful of games for HC Sierre in Switzerland’s National League B (NLB). His four games with the team was the shortest tenure he’d have with any team since turning pro. Chouinard had three goals and three assists in those games before leaving for the DEL.

The Straubing Tigers were Chouinard’s sixth different team within this two-year span, but it was here where he’d finally stay for a couple seasons. Joining the Tigers in late November of 2006, Chouinard ended up playing 27 games for the club over the remainder of the season scoring six goals and posting 17 assists.

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The following season Chouinard returned to the Tigers and displayed his best statistical season as a professional to date. Playing in 55 games, Chouinard had 30 goals, 52 points, and 58 PIM, all of which were pro career highs. He’d also have 22 assists, one shy of tying his pro career high he recorded with the Quebec Citadelles back in 2001-2002. Chouinard’s play during the 2007-2008 season earned him a spot at the DEL All-Star Game.

Taking part in a third season with the Tigers, Chouinard saw a drop in games played, goals, assists, points, and PIM. Playing in 14 less games than the prior season, Chouinard had 14 goals and 19 assists for 33 points. He’d also have 12 PIM, a drop-off of 46 from 2007-2008. This season was Chouinard’s final season with Straubing ending his longest tenure to date with any professional team as he played in 123 games over a three year span.

Thanks to icetigers.de

For the past two seasons Chouinard has been a member of the Nuremburg Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers. In his first season with the club, Chouinard just missed the 30-point mark as he had 15 goals and 14 assists while playing in 45 games. This season also marked the first time Chouinard would take part in any league’s playoffs since he played for the Flyers. He made his presence felt in the postseason as he had two goals and two assists in five games.

This past season, Chouinard played in seven more games for the Ice Tigers during the regular season while improving his numbers as well. He’d set a professional career high with 25 assists while also scoring 24 goals for 49 points. Chouinard also set his pro career high in plus/minus with +17. Taking part in his second straight postseason, Chouinard had an assist in two games for the club.

Chouinard will return to Nuremburg for the 2011-2012 season.

After years of bouncing around in the NHL and AHL, it looks as though Chouinard has found consistency in Germany’s premier hockey league. Posting three 30-point seasons over the last four years and appearing in an All-Star Game, Chouinard is making a name for himself in Europe. At just 31 years of age, Chouinard still has the chance to become captain of the Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers and lead them to the DEL Championship.