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Draft Profiles 2k21: Xavier Bourgault is an aggressive playmaker with a nose for the net

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The QMJHL was unusual in that they actually ran this year, and this young man chose to use that as an opportunity to go wild.

QMJHL Images

Analysis:

I have no idea where L’Islet in Quebec is (Future Sky: It’s a town outside of Quebec City), but they should be proud to call a player like Bourgault one of their own, because Xavier Bourgault seems to have been born in a lab to get your attention; coming out of nowhere in his sophomore season with the Cataractes to be a major contributor for Shawinigan.

Bourgault got to that point through his furious work-ethic; dude’s not afraid whatsoever to get into the corners and muck around for pucks and fight to get into the middle of the ice with impressive regularity, and is generally always seen trying to do something when he’s on the ice; using a strong, accurate shot in tight to beat defenders and goaltenders alike, and he will move hell and earth to get in tight first before he ever takes that shot, and it’s paid dividends. for him. Of course, if that were the only thing he could do, that would be pretty good, but Bourgault has also shown with his great play recognition and ability to find open space on the ice for himself or for his teammates that he’s a pretty damn solid playmaker, able to keep possession against oncoming backcheckers and able to be the first guy in the zone to both setup or continue a cycle. Further, he’s a shockingly consistent player once he’d found his game doing what he does now; in 2019-20, he played 63 games and ended the season with 71 points. In the 29 he played this year (thanks COVID.), he notched 40, and had the season started earlier, barring injury there is very little reason to believe Bourgault couldn’t have met or exceeded that total.

Where Bourgault needs work is in his skating. He’s got good speed and good acceleration, but his edges and his agility as a whole are rather underdeveloped for a player his age, and unlike say, Chaz Lucius who sometimes loses skating speed from turns, Bourgault will just begin decelerating, which most scouts have attributed to his wide skating stance. Further, he needs to work on his defense. He’s perfectly willing to get down and dirty and grit it out, don’t get me wrong...but he’s a little too willing to do that. He can get too aggressive and come off his line in order to lay the body which can be rather shambolic, and his overall patience is exceptionally low in his own end, looking for the first open man with the puck to get it out, which is a pretty big gamble. Drafting him will mean working on his skating and hopefully developing his defensive play, and bulking him up in order to allow him to play his aggressive style and not get absolutely demolished.

Bourgault is a later first round talent that depends on how much you think his effort can overcome his skating and defense deficiencies; players like him can often be the difference makers if they manage to get their act together, but some draft prognosticators believe that there are more

Then again, Arthur Kaliyev had some of the same problems, and is probably going to make the Kings this upcoming year as a full-time player. So you make the call.

Rankings:

  • 25th by Consolidated Rankings by EliteProspects.com
  • 37th by EliteProspects.com
  • 24th by FC Hockey
  • 19th by Neutral Zone
  • 17th by TSN (Bob McKenzie)
  • 21th by McKeen’s Hockey
  • 28th by TSN (Craig Button)
  • 13th by NHL Central Scouting among North American Skaters
  • 19th by SportsNet
  • 15th by Recruit Scouting
  • 15th by DobberProspects
  • 34th by Smaht Scouting

Statistics

Year Team League Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM
Year Team League Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM
2017-18 Lévis Chevaliers QMAAA 38 13 13 26 12
2018-19 Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL 62 7 13 20 12
2019-20 Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL 63 33 38 71 20
2020-21 Shawinigan Cataractes QMJHL 29 20 20 40 6
EliteProspects.com