Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Mavrik Bourque.
The third overall pick in the 2018 QMJHL Draft, Mavrik Bourque has been an important part of the Shawinigan Cataractes over the last two years. Last season, he scored 25 goals and 54 points in 64 games as a QMJHL rookie. He also played for Canada White at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, scoring three points in five tournament games. His strong rookie season earned him a spot on Team Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. Bourque scored one point in five games. He helped the Canadian squad to a silver medal in the tournament.
Bourque has been even better in his second season in the league, putting up 29 goals and 42 assists for 71 points in just 49 games for the Cataractes. He also played two games for Team QMJHL in the Canada-Russia Super Series. Bourque’s season was ended in early-February due to a wrist injury but is expected back for the 2021-22 campaign.
Mavrik Bourque Scouting Report
Center — shoots Right
Born January 8th, 2002 — Plessisville, Quebec
Height 5’10” — Weight 178 lbs [178 cm / 81 kg]
Bourque’s skating is highlighted by his edgework and agility. He moves well laterally and is able to make quick cuts and changes of direction. This helps Bourque to avoid defenders, both with and without the puck. Bourque is also strong on his skates. He is a bit undersized but has a strong lower body and low centre of gravity. This gives him very good balance and makes him hard to knock off the puck. Bourque is able to put his body between the defender and the puck when he works down low, protecting the puck and extending offensive zone time. Bourque could use some work on his speed though. He has above-average top-end speed, and his first few steps and acceleration are decent. However, given his lack of size, one would like to see him be a bit more explosive.
Bourque is an undersized forward who plays an excellent puck protection game. Bourque controls the puck down low with his shifty skating ability and good puckhandling skills. He can avoid defenders with his feet and also uses his quick hands to open up passing and shooting lanes in order to create scoring opportunities. He shows high hockey IQ for his age and makes smart plays both with and without the puck. Bourque is very good at running a give-and-go type play, getting to open space after he dishes the puck to a teammate. He has good vision and can make smart passes to his teammates. His ability to work down low extends plays and when his teammates get open, he can hit them with a quick pass.
Bourque’s bread and butter are as a goal scorer though. He can score in a variety of ways with an excellent wrist shot, strong snapshot and very-good one-timer. He even generates power on his backhand. Bourque’s quick hands allow him to get off a quick release as well as to change his angle just before shooting the puck. This helps to confuse goaltenders. Bourque also has the soft hands to finish in close to the net with a deke, deflection or banging in a rebound.
Bourque’s game is extremely well-developed for his age, including his play in his own end of the rink. He is a willing and effective back-checker and provides support to the defence down low. Bourque is strong positionally and anticipates well. He uses an active stick to break up passes and steal the puck off of opposing players. Bourque has been used on the penalty kill by Shawinigan, Team Canada, and at the Top Prospects Game. However, his size can be an issue in 5v5 hockey. He has trouble defending against bigger, stronger players working the cycle game. He also can have issues being outmuscled along the boards and in front of the net. Bourque will need to bulk up and improve these areas of his game. He is decent in the face-off circle, but this is another area he can improve before heading to the pro game.
Projection and Comparison
Bourque has a strong all-around game. While his size is a bit of a concern, there is no reason that he can’t overcome it and still play a top-six role in the NHL. He will need to improve his skating and strength to play centre though. A move to the wing at the pro level might be in his future. Bourque will need another year or two in the QMJHL before he is ready to make the jump. His game is reminiscent of Travis Konecny but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Mavrik Bourque that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Mavrik Bourque Main Photo:
QUEBEC CITY, QC – OCTOBER 26: Mavrik Bourque #22 of the Shawinigan Cataractes skates during his QMJHL hockey game at the Videotron Center on October 26, 2019, in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)