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 2021 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 bring you our Zachary Bolduc Scouting Report.
In what was an incredibly weird season throughout the hockey world. Perhaps no league was weirder than the QMJHL who started up in the fall; saw some divisions play while others were shut down; eventually saw the entire league shut down; and then played some games in the spring. One of many prospects affected by this was Rimouski Oceanic centre, Zachary Bolduc. He played just 27 games, scoring 10 goals and 29 points on the season. However, he could not complete his campaign as a lower-body injury in late March took him out.
Bolduc, the 14th overall pick in the 2019 QMJHL Draft, originally considered skipping the CHL and going the USHL/NCAA route. However, after just two games with Sioux City in 2019, he left the USHL and joined Rimouski. Bolduc scored 30 goals and 22 assists for 52 points in 55 games in 2019-20. He led all rookies in goals and took home honours as QMJHL Rookie of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, and being named to the All-Rookie Team. He also played in five games with two goals and five points for Team Canada Red at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge.
Zachary Bolduc Scouting Report
Left Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born February 24th, 2003 — Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
Height 6’1″ — Weight 175 lbs [185 cm / 79 kg]
Bolduc is a solid skater. He could stand to work on his first step and his acceleration, but it isn’t a weakness. If he can lengthen his stride though, it will be even better. His top-end speed is well-above average. Bolduc keeps up with the play and can threaten defenders off the rush. Where he really excels is in his edgework and agility. He can change directions on a dime and his shiftiness allows him to beat defenders through the neutral zone. It also allows him to make a quick shift in position in the offensive zone to create a passing or shooting lane. Bolduc can get stronger though. As he adds strength to his lower body, he will improve his balance and ability to win battles on the boards.
Bolduc has an excellent wrist shot, snap shot and slap shot. He is accurate and shows good power. His wrist shot and snap shot also feature a decent release but there is a bit of room to improve. Bolduc loves to shoot and will take shots from anywhere on the ice. With his good shot, he can score from the perimeter on junior goalies. That said, he’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas of the ice and can score from inside the home plate area as well. He might even shoot a bit too much, to the detriment of his passing skills and making plays to drive the net at times.
Bolduc’s stickhandling is inconsistent. There are nights where he can dangle through traffic and make plays. There are other nights where he seems to lose the puck easily. He also has some inconsistency in his playmaking. He has the skill to put the puck through tight areas, but he doesn’t always make the right play. There is some question about his patience as he seems to rush things at times. One can also question his vision and whether he takes the time to see all that is available to him.
Bolduc’s defensive game is a bit of a work in progress. He needs to be more disciplined in his assignments as he can get caught puck watching and lose his man away from the play. He also has a tendency to fly the zone early, looking for the long breakaway pass but leaving his team at a disadvantage if they don’t exit the zone successfully. When he is in good position, Bolduc favours a poke check or a stick lift vs taking the body. He doesn’t always get involved in physical battles down low. When a turnover is created, Bolduc can sometimes rush things. He doesn’t always make the smart play in transition, instead, he looks to get it off his stick quickly. This can lead to him rushing a dump off the glass or creating an icing instead of making a play. This is an area he will need to improve.
Projection and Comparison
Bolduc is a bit of a boom or bust prospect. There are aspects of his game that are very high-end and show the ability to be a top-line player. However, he is wildly inconsistent. There are also games where he just isn’t noticeable on the ice. With his defensive issues and his questionable vision and hockey IQ, he will be best suited to be a winger than a centre at the next level. If he can work on these things, and even improve them a little, he could become a solid NHL player. However, if he does not, he will be the type of player who drives coaches and fanbases crazy as the untapped potential is obvious. When he is at his best, Bolduc’s game resembles Jakub Vrana, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Zachary Bolduc that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for our latest NHL Draft Article.
Zachary Bolduc Scouting Report Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images
QUEBEC CITY, QC – OCTOBER 18: Zachary Bolduc #15 of the Rimouski Oceanic skates prior to his QMJHL hockey game at the Videotron Center on October 18, 2019, in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)