Prospect Profile: Mavrik Bourque
By Mitch Adamson
Centre Mavrik Bourque (C) has the potential to be a high point producer in the NHL. Ranked 24th in NHL Central Scouting’s January update, he is looking to increase his draft stock as the days wind down until NHL draft on June 26-27, 2020, though he may be in tough, dealing with an injury that has held him out of the lineup for almost a month. Before the season, Bourque was rated as a “B” level prospect in the NHL Central Scouting preliminary rankings, partly as a result of a poor showing at the Ivan Hlinka tournament held in August where he had only 1 point in 5 games played. Since then, Bourque has exceeded expectations with almost half a point per game in the QMJHL, elevating his draft stock to mid-late first round.
Place of Birth: Plessisville, QC, CAN
Bourque has been lighting up the Q with 71 points (29G/42A) in 49 games or 1.45 P/GP. Those are similar numbers to players such as Kailer Yamamoto (1.52 P/GP) and Nick Suzuki (1.47 P/GP), both smaller players who play a tough game while racking up points in junior, which has continued for them to the NHL level. The high point totals from this year are no fluke either as Bourque had 54 points in 64 games last year, great production for a 16 year-old rookie.
The most impressive thing about Bourque is his ability to produce on a struggling team. So far this year the Cataractes are 27-29-1-0, a less than desirable mark. However, it is an improvement on last year with Shawinigan only winning 14 games out of 68. Bourque is considered the go-to guy on his team, leading the Cataractes in scoring by 3 points even with his current injury.
With a -4 rating, Bourque is ranked in the bottom half on his team in that aspect. Bourque can sometimes be a little lazy defensively but when he is engaged, he wins most of his battles which is impressive considering he is a smaller player. If he goes pro, Bourque must iron out his defensive work ethic and consistency to remain as a center at the NHL level. This isn’t to say he’s bad defensively or doesn’t backcheck, he is a good two way forward who needs to be more consistent defensively.
Bourque tends to score in bunches and hasn’t scored a point in 11 games this season, which does raise the question of consistency, however, with his talent and in due time I feel as if it will balance out.
Ratings are based off 1 to 10 scale with 1 being awful and 10 outstanding.
Hockey IQ/Playmaking: 9
First off, Bourque is a tick above average straight-line skater. While his skating isn’t his best asset, it isn’t a weakness either. Bourque’s agility allows him to win puck battles in the corner as well as to create space for teammates. He shouldn’t get overwhelmed at the NHL level as his edgework allows him to shake off a defender and buy him a few more seconds to make a nice play– something he is very good at. Below is a good example of his mix of high-end skill and edgework at play:
One thing you will notice when watching Bourque play is that he is extremely skilled. Whenever he plays, he’ll give you the “wow” factor of skill. The thing about him is that he doesn’t try to be flashy or spectacular, it just happens naturally. Bourque is a player who goes all in with what he does; he’ll commit to whatever he is doing be that some slick stickwork or a combination of speed and skill. The opposition doesn’t faze him as he will either make the play happen or get run over trying. Below is an example of his adaptability to the play combined with some sweet skill:
— Jérôme Bérubé (@Jerome_Berube) February 2, 2020
In my opinion, his biggest knock is his defensive work ethic. Although sometimes he does hunt down opposing players on the back check, his play in his own zone is far from desirable. Bourque seems to give up on plays and do a looping circle instead of stopping and taking the direct route. Bourque also isn’t the biggest player at only 5’10 or 5’11 so he isn’t strong enough to bully anyone off the puck. Combine that with his lazy tendencies in the d-zone and he will need to make a significant improvement in order to become more of a complete player.
Standing at 5’10, 165 lbs, Bourque is an undersized center with some bite to his game. Bourque won’t throw a huge hit or rub anyone out along the boards, but in the offensive zone he is good at shielding the puck and absorbing hits. Bourque will never be a physical player. However, if he wishes to hold his own in the NHL, he will need to pack on at least 20 lbs which will help him maintain his tough style of play. One of Bourque’s most underrated assets is his ability to take a hit to make a play, more so in the offensive zone. However, he has shown he is capable while defending as well.
Bourque is probably one of the most creative and smart players in this year’s draft. Every time he rushes up the ice you can’t pinpoint exactly what he will do next, making life difficult for defenders as he relies on his high calibre hockey IQ and quick decision making to find a pass or fire a shot in a millisecond. Bourque also reads the play really well; he knows where the puck is going to be before it gets there, and he also knows what he is going to do with the puck even before he gets it. Here is an example of Bourque’s elite hockey IQ and passing ability.
Two Goals and 5 Assists for Mavrik Bourque. Crisp pass along the half wall on the power play. If Bourque continues to have nights like this, he will be a top 10 selection on draft night. Elite playmaker. Always seems to deliver the perfect pass.#2020NHLDraft | @FCHockey pic.twitter.com/NmVGSqJ0gT
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) February 2, 2020
One of Bourque’s most prized assets is his shot. His shot is quick, decisive, powerful and accurate. Because of this, opposing defenders have to respect that and therefore he is given more space so he can either thread the seam or rip a shot top corner. He also has an impressive one timer, which is notiecable on the powerplay where he is used on his off wing to find crisp cross ice passes and receive one timers. Bourque’s shot is not quite NHL ready yet, however he does have one of the best releases in this draft. Below is an example of his shot:
— Drakcast (@drak_cast) October 10, 2019
Overall, if Bourque slips to the late first round or early second round he could be a steal. In such a deep draft class it is easy to see why he can be undervalued as a result of his top speed and defensive work ethic, or lack thereof. If Bourque can iron out his consistency on both sides of the puck as well as try and increase his foot speed a bit more, he can become an effective NHLer. I can see him fitting in on a team’s top 6 in 3-4 years with the ceiling potential to be a first line winger and play both PP and PK.