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.
- Alexis Lafrenière (New York Rangers)
- Quinton Byfield (Kings de Los Angeles)
Lucas Raymond (Sénateurs d’Ottawa via San Jose Sharks)
Tim Stützle (Detroit Red Wings)
Marco Rossi (Ottawa Senators)
Jamie Drysdale (Canards d’Anaheim)
Cole Perfetti (Diables du New Jersey)
Anton Lundell (Sabers de Buffalo)
Alexander Holtz (Savings of Minnesota)
Seth Jarvis (Jets de Winnipeg)
Dawson Mercer (Predators de Nashville)
Jack Quinn (Panthers de la Floride)
Yaroslav Askarov (Hurricanes de la Caroline via les Maple Leafs de Toronto)
Jake Sanderson (Oilers d’Edmonton)
William Wallinder (Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Pittsburgh Penguins)
- 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.
There was Jacob Perreault, a scorer and one of the most likely to improve prospects in the skating department over the next few years. He is also very skilled. But if you want to target that kind of player, Amirov’s game is an easier project for the NHL.
And the same goes for Kaiden Guhle. You know the defender will intimidate the best players.
And there was the enigmatic Hendrix Lapierre. Unfortunately, even if you remove the injury questions, Lapierre’s game is still filled with translatable questions. He can fly with crossovers and make defenders dumb every now and then, but he hasn’t handled much else in his limited matches. He needs to attack more inside the ice, develop as a shooter and make better decisions with the puck. While Lapierre’s four-point opener last night may be the start of a formidable comeback season, in the last campaign Bourque has shown more than his counterpart in almost every facet of the game.
Over the past two seasons, the Shawinigan Cataractes right-handed center has become the beating heart of the team. From a pure scorer, he has become a dangerous double threat striker. From a supportive offensive player, he has become a pilot, a player capable of attracting defenders, holding the puck under pressure and finding opportunities quickly. When he was injured at the end of the year, the Cataractes offense ceased to flow. The connection between the back-end and the attackers weakened and the group collectively lost a step as Bourque was no longer there to support them.
Mavrik Bourque wears # 22 with the Shawinigan Cataractes
So let’s go down the list.
Hockey sense? Check.
Ability to improve line mates? Check.
Constant improvements? Check.
Room to grow? Check.
High-end tool (his hit)? Check.
Bourque is expected to add more than his share of goals for the Montreal Canadiens, both five-on-five and power play. He can deceptively release and pass off in a very limited space in the lunge. He has the board skills, the protective puck feel of a solid winger, but also the ability to read, support and connect an effective center player. He could play both positions.
He won’t become the primary puck-carrying threat on a line, but he could open up some space for quicker linemen to exploit. He won’t be pushing pace to NHL level either, but he should be able to manipulate it to take defensemen out of pace and position.
Even as the prospect’s upward development curve begins to flatten out, even if he doesn’t become one of the top six double-threat drivers, a future where he extends his offensive awareness to his defensive play and still turns into a contributor. positive NHL is more than conceivable.
For all these reasons, our discussion of the simulation project ended with the choice of Bourque.
Of course, if Dawson Mercer or Seth Jarvis had still been available, maybe we would have taken a different direction. Both of these players possess elusive skills and the ability to put them to full use. Or maybe Bourque’s intelligence would have won anyway.
Honestly, in the real draft, if the Habs decide to keep the pick, there are a lot of players to choose from among the top four or the top six. Whether it’s Bourque or someone else, the team will gain another solid piece of their future.
The story of Eyes on the prizeSB Nation NHL Mock Draft Selection
2020: Mavrik Bourque (16th)
2019: Thomas Harley (15e)
2018: Filip Zadina (third overall)
2017: Urho Vaakanainen (25e)
2016: Tyson Jost (ninth)
2015: Thomas Chabot (26th)
2014: David Pastrnak (26e)
2013: Josh Morrissey (25e)
2012: Mikhail Grigorenko (troisième)
2011: Mark Scheifele (17e)
2010: Ryan Spooner (27e)
2009: Scott Glennie (18e)
Considering who was left on board, who would be your 16th choice?
Other (make your point in comments)
239 votes au total