2020 NHL mock draft: Canadiens select Mavrik Bourque with 16th pick

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With the 16th overall pick in the 2020 SB Nation Mock NHL Draft, Eyes on the prize selects, among the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL, Mavrik Bourque!

Each year, as tradition dictates, SB Nation NHL venues make their respective team’s first-round pick. Sometimes the choices are easy, but the further down you move, the larger the pool of options and the harder the exercise becomes. After months of research and then a few more months of research, we came to a consensus.

Mavrik Bourque is the EOTP player.

  1. Alexis Lafrenière (New York Rangers)

  2. Quinton Byfield (Kings de Los Angeles)

  3. Lucas Raymond (Sénateurs d’Ottawa via San Jose Sharks)

  4. Tim Stützle (Detroit Red Wings)

  5. Marco Rossi (Ottawa Senators)

  6. Jamie Drysdale (Canards d’Anaheim)

  7. Cole Perfetti (Diables du New Jersey)

  8. Anton Lundell (Sabers de Buffalo)

  9. Alexander Holtz (Savings of Minnesota)

  10. Seth Jarvis (Jets de Winnipeg)

  11. Dawson Mercer (Predators de Nashville)

  12. Jack Quinn (Panthers de la Floride)

  13. Yaroslav Askarov (Hurricanes de la Caroline via les Maple Leafs de Toronto)

  14. Jake Sanderson (Oilers d’Edmonton)

  15. William Wallinder (Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Pittsburgh Penguins)

  16. Mavrik Bourque (Montreal Canadiens)

At this point in the draft, there wouldn’t be a prospect who would change the face of the team immediately, nor even someone who could do it the following year. We could have taken shortcuts, players like forward Dylan Holloway or defenseman Kaiden Guhle are expected to be in the NHL roster in 2021-22. They developed physically earlier than their peers, plan to skate at an above average level, and enjoy hanging out with each other. In other words, they can resist the grind of the top world league sooner.

Bourque will likely arrive at least a year later in the NHL. Before making the jump, he must discover the limit of his skills, and work on his skating to push him to the NHL average, his engine and the consistency of his defensive play. But he’s on the right track to outdo Holloway and Guhle.

If his weaknesses sound familiar to you, it’s because a lot of them belonged to Nick Suzuki in his draft year. Bourque is a better shot, but he lacks the ability of the current Canadiens center to freeze and beat defensemen one on one. But, really, how often does this happen in a game? Above all, Suzuki is efficient because he anticipates open spaces, supports his teammates and makes the optimal game most of the time. Bourque does all of this, and over time he will do it at the NHL level as well.

Choosing 16th, even if the game breakers have left the board, you still want a player whose brain can keep up with the speed of hockey in the NHL, who can carry a line, and who has a roadmap for improvement.

Looking at the players available, there was Rodion Amirov, the Russian running machine, a top skater in the draft and one able to use speed both offensively and defensively. But while Amirov beats Bourque in pure tools – they’re more precise and sturdy – he doesn’t seem able to use them to their full potential. Amirov is also older and closer to the player than he will be in the NHL.

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