After scoring 47 goals in 55 games with the Lincoln Starts of the USHL, Brandon Bochenski was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the 7th round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, along with future NHLers Jason Spezza, Tim Gleason, Brooks Laich, Christoph Scubert, Ray Emery and Brian Elliott.
Over the next three years Bochenski put up 152 points in 120 games with the University of North Dakota, and spent the 2004-05 lockout in Binghamton where he would win the AHL rookie scoring race potting 70 points while riding shotgun on Spezza’s wing.
But the Brandon Bochenski Tour of Offensive Excellence had not made its final stop. During the 2005-06 NHL pre-season, Brandon would score an astonishing 5 goals and 4 assists in just 5 games. At this point, Bochenski was looking like he’d be a good player, and fans were optimistic about the skinny kid from Minnesota. Even Don Cherry was on the Bochenski Bandwagon, as he picked him to win the Calder Trophy that year, this despite a stacked rookie class which included the likes of Crosby and Ovechkin. Oops.
Unfortunately, once the season started, despite getting minutes alongside some of the team’s best players, Bochenski was unable to produce, and was returned to Binghamton before the end of October. His chances of becoming an NHL scorer weren’t looking too good anymore.
A month later, Bochenski was called up to fill a depth role...which is when one of the most unexpected offensive displays in Sens history would take place. On December 5th,2005 versus the Panthers in Florida (highlights can be found here), Bochenski would start the night off by collecting an assist off of an ugly goal by the noted offensive threat Vaclav Varada. Then in the second, Brandon would score his first goal of the night on a breakaway, and would pot two more in the third, giving him the Sens’ first hat-trick of the season. Bochenski now had 6 points in 2 games since being called up.
Much like after Bobby Butler’s two goal night against Calgary last season, it appeared for a very short amount of time that there was a chance Bochenski would be able to contribute in meaningful games at the NHL level without the help of Jason Spezza. But once again, just like Butler, that one game would prove to be just a one-time thing. Bochenski would score just once more for the Sens before being traded at the deadline along with a second round pick for
a useful player Tyler Arnason.
While Bochenski is merely a minor footnote in Ottawa Senators history, his name still gets brought up every pre-season whenever a member of the Sens plays unexpectedly well.
So where is he now?
The Brandon Bochenski Tour of Offensive Excellence can be found making its way across the big, beautiful country of Russia, as Brandon is currently tearing it UP with Astana of the KHL (dude was the 3rd leading scorer in the league last season). After playing for 6 NHL teams in 5 seasons, the husband and father of two finally has some stability for the first time in his pro career. While the KHL doesn’t release salary info, it’s safe to assume the he’s making quite a bit overseas.
While it's no surprise that a Muckler-era draft pick didn't quite pan out, or is now playing overseas, it's nice to hear that Bochenski has finally found a place in the hockey world which he can call home.
Ah yes, I remember Gord Wilson in true homer fashion talking about Bochenski in the Art Ross race...never bought into it and made sure to email Wilson when Bochenski didn't rise to his lofty expectations, the usual amount of excuses followed.
As for Muckler...need we remind the Murray-adoring throng that his mandate was to take the team over the top, which he did? It's great Bingo has won 8 straight but it's meaningless without a Calder Cup and I'm *still* waiting for the post 2007 Senators to win a playoff round...maybe in 2015 or so? At some point these great prospects we have need to actually do something at the NHL level, or will we be content with just being a production line for the NHL's other 29 teams? :(
Really enjoyed this post, nice work Brochenski.
I remember talking him up after this game, "...a hat-trick on Luongo has to mean something right?"