Hendrix Lapierre, Lukas Reichel, Sam Colangelo, Jacob Perreault, Justin Barron, Jeremie Poirier, Anton Lundell, John-Jason Peterka, Dylan Holloway, Ozzy Wiesblatt, Ridly Greig, Zion Nybeck, Braden Schneider
Welcome back to Broad Street Hockey’s 2020 NHL Draft analysis! Today, I thought I’d mark this series’ return with a unique prospect who I hadn’t really heard of, but now that I know of him, I’m very intrigued.
Thomas Bordeleau is a small (5’9”, 179 lbs) playmaking center who was one of the premier players on the US National Team Development program in both the USDP and the USHL, leading the former in points. For a team that so often is filled with skilled players, perhaps Bordeleau was the most skilled of the bunch for this draft class, and as such, the power-play ran almost exclusively through him this season. Though, what makes him incredibly unique is his ambidexterity in regards to both his stick-handling and face-off approach.
In the film that I’ve seen on Bordeleau, he makes a lot of interesting, non-conventional plays, and even more interestingly, he has the ability to flip his stick, and can take strong-side draws either way. This is something that we’ve seen Claude Giroux do before, and it makes Bordeleau an incredibly dangerous situational weapon when combined with his already high end offensive ability.
What do the stats say?
Bordeleau was very close to scoring at a point-per-game level across all of his appearances in 2019-20. Combined, Bordeleau played in 66 games, scoring 64 points (23 goals). This bettered his 61 points across all appearances in 2018-19, and from what I have seen and heard, he came into his own this past season, which is always a good sign in a prospect’s draft year.
Bordeleau’s numbers are very good for the level of competition he was playing at, and next season, he will be playing NCAA hockey at the University of Michigan.
The Eye Test
As expected, Bordeleau’s top asset is his on-ice vision and ability to make difficult passes look easy. He is effective at spotting open teammates, and has the patience on the puck to wait for effective options to open up rather than forcing his will and potentially turning the puck over.
A pick, some nifty handles, and a nice pass from Thomas Bordeleau. pic.twitter.com/MQ3mIVjVoc— Joey Padmanabhan (@joeypad2) June 23, 2020
This is a good sign, to see a mature level of thinking from such a young player. However, Bordeleau can sometimes be described as too patient. He is a fantastic playmaker that doesn’t like to attack defenders very often, and he uses himself most often as a pivot rather than a puck carrier. He certainly has the profile to be able to beat defenders more often, and down low, he can make unreal plays. However, he just isn’t very physical, though the trade off are plays like this:
#U18: Team USA takes a 1-0 lead over Sweden into the first intermission thanks to this goal by Landon Slaggert via a sweet through-the-legs dish by Thomas Bordeleau, with Jake Sanderson activating off the draw for the other assist. This is as pretty as you can get.#2020NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/GoVUnOSoIk— The Draft Analyst (@TheDraftAnalyst) February 8, 2020
On top of his high level playmaking, Bordeleau also possess a fairly dangerous shot that can beat goalies clean at times. However, Bordeleau is a pass-first type of player and he doesn’t use his shot as often as you would like (note that the below tweet says NCAA games, though he didn’t play in the NCAA).
Won’t be too long before people ask “Why did Thomas Bordeleau go in the second round?”— Evan (@Shattenkirk) July 22, 2020
Kid had 13 points in 18 NCAA games this season. Thomas plays a very well rounded game and has plenty of skill to burn.pic.twitter.com/gKZqialydb
Defensively, Bordeleau gets a pass, but not an A, more like a B or B-. He can win battles and is fairly effective in his own zone, but this isn’t the facet of his game that is going to impress you all that much. This isn’t helped by the fact that he isn’t the strongest nor fastest skater in the draft. Again, he is good but not great in those areas, and will need to improve his skating to have major success at the NHL level.
Overall, Bordeleau is one of the most creative passers and playmakers in the draft, and has been undervalued slightly in my opinion due to the strength in forward depth this year. Bordeleau could be a second round comp for the Flyers if that is truly where most organizations see him going, and in the end, Bordeleau could be one of the steals of the draft.