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Under the Microscope | NHL Prospect of November: Mavrik Bourque

The last time a Shawinigan Cataractes player held my attention the way Mavrik Bourque does, he was wearing #91 and he was the team’s captain. Many of you possibly guessed right that I’m referring to Anthony Beauvillier here, he who notched 206 points in 178 games with the Mauricie-based team.

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Birthdate | January 8, 2002
Birthplace | Plessisville, QC
Age | 17 years old
Height | 5’10’’
Weight | 165 lbs.
Shoots | Right

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Even though his size may not give him an edge over some of the other prospects who are sure to go in an eventful first round at the 2020 NHL Draft, Mavrik Bourque still has good chances of hearing his name called in the opening round next June 26 at Montreal’s Bell Centre.

Honestly though, the race will be so tight that there shouldn’t be much of a gap between the 20th and 60th picks. Similar to the 2019 edition, teams picking from the 20th position will be making their selections pretty much based on feeling alone.

We often say that you can’t buy offensive talent, and that’s the first thing that I noticed with Bourque. The fact that he’s always in movement and always in the right spot are two of the elements that make him extremely dangerous. He’s definitely a natural scorer, and you can’t buy that either. His 39 points in 25 games have him placed as the seventh-best scorer in the QMJHL at the moment.

Interesting fact about the Cats’ #22, he has the opportunity of playing in a familiar market. As a Plessisville native, he played for the Trois-Rivières Estacades program during his time in the QMAAAHL. This is a minor detail for some hockey fans, but for a young junior-aged player, having the chance to play in front of his family and friends is something special. I believe that the extra comfort zone is having a positive impact on his play.

I spoke with Daniel Renaud, Bourque’s head coach over with the Cataractes, and he had nothing but praise for his star player. “Mavrik has an exceptional hockey IQ. His vision allows him to be two or three seconds ahead of the play, both offensively and defensively. He always looks to make a difference and is highly effective both on the power play and on the penalty kill.”

Photo: Olivier Croteau 2019/10/25 Shawinigan, Quebec Canada. Hockey LHJMQ. Les Cataractes de Shawinigan recoivent l'Oceanic de Rimouski au Centre Gervais Auto. Mavrik Bourque no22,
Photo: Olivier Croteau 2019/10/25 Shawinigan, Quebec Canada. Hockey LHJMQ. Les Cataractes de Shawinigan recoivent l’Oceanic de Rimouski au Centre Gervais Auto. Mavrik Bourque no22,

Of course, Bourque reminds me of Anthony Beauvillier a little, but I think the player who looks most like him in the NHL right now is Travis Konecny of the Philadelphia Flyers. Both are right-handed, both are 5’10” and both weigh in about the same. They both seem to see the game in a similar way as well.

What I love most about today’s hockey is that it finally gives players like Konecny the chance to express themselves offensively. It’s not by chance that hockey has become more spectacular and much faster.

I remember the year Jeff Skinner was to be drafted (2010) and practically everyone had him going at the end of the first round or the start of the second. Why? Because he was 5’10”. In the end, the Carolina Hurricanes drafted him seventh overall. We know what happened next, Skinner’s career needs no introduction.

Unfortunately, some teams are still hesitant to go for players under six feet tall. Brayden Point is the best example of this, having been selected in the third round by the Lightning in 2014, despite having amassed 88 points in 48 games in the WHL.

Hockey has changed, can we accept it now?

Mavrik Bourque is an extraordinary forward and deserves all the attention he’s received. A gifted scorer, skilled puck handler and elegant skater, Bourque will surely make the Cataractes and the QMJHL proud on June 26 and 27.

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