We’re nearing the home stretch here folks, and would you look at that! We’re heading back to the QMJHL for the third time this week!
Next up on the draft board is Xavier Bourgault, who, because of his early birthday, has just wrapped up his third season in the QMJHL, and it was quite a productive one at that! Putting up a cool 40 points in 29 games, Bourgault came in third in scoring on his team, and flashed a very intriguing offensive toolkit in the process.
As was the case with Zachary Bolduc when we talked about him a few days ago, Bourgault is a natural center who has spent much of his QMJHL career playing on the wing. This makes his projection a little trickier, but hey, we could also spin that a little more positively as just being positional flexibility. Sure? Sure!
BSH 2021 Community Draft Board, No. 26: Xavier Bourgault
Team: Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Stats: 20 G, 20 A in 29 GP
No. 13 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
No. 15 by Dobber Prospects
No. 24 by FC Hockey
No. 21 by Scott Wheeler/The Athletic
What’s there to like?
There isn’t really one specific skillset or element of Bourgault’s game that positively jumps off the page, but that’s fine, because, while still not a finished product, he’s quite a well rounded player already.
Bourgault’s offensive game is the real hallmark here. He has a quick wrist shot, and it’s dangerous from just about anywhere on the ice. That shot is both accurate and having good power, and it can be a real difficulty for goalies to fight off. He also shows a good willingness to get to the front of the net for chances, and has shown an equal skill for picking up and creating chances off of rebounds.
But Bourgault is also a strong all-round playmaker, on top of having that solid scoring touch. He’s a tenacious player with a very good motor, and an aptitude for finding space to exploit for chances. He’s an accurate passer, can maneuver well through traffic, and does well to draw and manipulate defenders to open up more space for his teammates.
Bourgault isn’t a poor skater per se, but it’s definitely still a work in progress for him. That said, there are some good foundational pieces at work—his first few steps and acceleration are good, and the technical shortcomings haven’t really hindered him too dramatically against his peers, as he’s still able to forecheck well and win races to loose pucks. That allows him to play with quite good pace, and that’s an extra added asset.
His defensive game is also a work in progress, but here too we already see a good foundation. His aggressive style of play can leave him exposed at times, but when it works, it really does work. He’s able to pressure well and create a decent number of turnovers, so there’s a good bit to like there.
What’s not to like?
There isn’t really one massive hole in Bourgault’s game that should be concerning, but there are still a few areas that will need cleaning up. His skating is the biggest piece in need of work—we noted that he plays with good pace, but he doesn’t exactly bring a ton of top end speed. His skating stance is a little wide and that can limit his speed and overall mobility a bit. His edgework also needs, well, work too, and improving those pivots would be a real asset to his game.
His puck protection is also in need of some work—he get caught holding the puck a bit far away from his body, and that leaves him more exposed and likely that that puck is going to be taken away. Adding some strength will certainly help this, but the overall stick positioning needs a bit of cleaning up.
And finally, while we said that his defensive game certainly isn’t a weakness, there’s still some fine tuning that could go into his off-puck pressuring and positioning.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
Well, for one, there’s certainly a positional fit. As we noted in the introduction, while Bourgault has played mostly wing while with Shawinigan, he is a natural center, and that’s something the Flyers sure could use more of in their pipeline. Now, it would take a bit of work to develop him as a center at the professional level after some time away from the position, but there isn’t really anything in his game or profile to suggest that it absolutely cannot be done. So that’s a real plus.
The stylistic fit does also seem to be a good one. Bourgault doesn’t necessarily check on box in terms of a skillset that the Flyers are sorely in need of, but it is easy to see his style of play meshing well with what the Flyers are at least trying to build towards. He brings an immediate offensive boost, and his pace of play is certainly an enticing piece. And, what’s more, we know that the Flyers do seem to love a player that also brings a degree of defensive responsibility (even if the finer points of their game still need a bit of smoothing out). There’s a lot here that you can imagine them liking.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
Good news, folks! Bourgault will almost certainly be available for the Flyers to pick at 13 should they desire (and he should still be on the board if they decide to move back a bit).
We’ll also make one addition to the poll:
Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton (WHL)
Cossa has been as good as you could have asked him to be in the WHL, dominating the league for the last two seasons. His athletic toolkit is very intriguing as a 6-foot-6 goalie who can move very well for that size. He covers a lot of net with his length. He has some quick twitch in his frame in how he moves around the net, and gets in and out of his butterfly. Cossa’s reads are typically great. He loses track of some pucks and can be a bit busy in the net but usually anticipates the play very well. I love his selective aggressiveness with his positioning, and how he takes away angles with his size as well as how well he uses his stick to break up a lot of plays. - Corey Pronman, The Athletic
Who should be 27th on the draft board?
This poll is closed
2021 BSH Community Draft Board
- Owen Power — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Matthew Beniers — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Brandt Clarke — D, Nove Zamky (Slovakia)
- Dylan Guenther — LW/RW, Edmonton (WHL)
- William Eklund — C/LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
- Luke Hughes — D, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Simon Edvinsson — D, Frölunda HC J20 / J20 Nationell - 21/22
- Kent Johnson — W, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Aatu Räty — C, Kärpät U20 and Kärpät (Liiga)
- Jesper Wallstedt — G, Luleå (SHL)
- Mason McTavish — C, EHC Olten (SL)
- Cole Sillinger — C/LW, Sioux (USHL)
- Chaz Lucius — C, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Fabian Lysell — LW/RW, Luleå HF (SHL)
- Carson Lambos — D, JYP U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
- Matthew Coronato — F, Chicago Steel (USHL)
- Nikita Chibrikov — LW/RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL), SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
- Sasha Pastujov — LW, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Corson Ceulemans — D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
- Oskar Olausson — LW/RW, HV71 (SHL)
- Brennan Othmann — LW, EHC Olten (SL)
- Logan Stankoven — C/W, Kamloops (WHL)
- Zachary L’Heureux — LW, Halifax (QMJHL)
- Zachary Bolduc — C/W, Rimouski (QMJHL)
- Simon Robertsson — RW - Skellefteå AIK (SHL)
- Xavier Bourgault — C/RW, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)