The thing about the later first round is that many, many players look like they have some unbelievable talent, and yet for all their talent they will keep getting passed. Most of the time that either comes with the problem of size still being a thing General Managers care quite a bit about, or that they got injured and missed valuable draft time (which got even more valuable this year), or even one simple thing; consistency. Consistency means way more for prospects, because if there’s consistent, quantifiable progress on a player, it means they can keep growing.
And one player who definitely has shown plenty of shades of this is Zachary Bolduc, from Trois Rivieres, Quebec.
Bolduc had a real tough challenge this year, what with his buddy Alexis going to play for the Rangers at the draft, and as such he had to step up quite a bit, which an injury delayed. But while he was a player for Rimouski, he looked like a shooter’s shooter. Able to get any kind of shot off with the kind of power and accuracy usually reserved for all-star competitions, and Oceanic was more than happy to use him as a powerplay dagger. And why not? His passing is just as strong as his shooting, able to read defenses with ease and find openings both in the attacking zone and in transition, where he’s most effective, to create dangerous opportunities off the rush, where his strong, smooth skating can allow him to create real separation.
In short, do not ever leave Zach Bolduc alone or give him any space. For any reason. It won’t end well for your goalie’s SV%.
Where he definitely needs work is in two major areas; his consistency, and his stickhandling. Bolduc for all his shooting prowess is generally not going to be especially subtle about how and where he shoots. He’s not going to draw a defender to him nor is he going to dangle a goaltender out of his pads, he’s just gonna lay the hammer down on a big hard shot, typically from the right circles. Which is good! That is a moderately dangerous part of the ice, but he also can try from a bit higher out, wherein he can be kinda...well...”Krug”-ey about his shot choices. Further, when it comes to his consistency...it’s really his most frustrating trait. Sometimes he was absolutely Rimouski’s best player, otherwise he was merely a ho-hum, alright player that either wasn’t engaged enough or seemingly playing through some kind of fog. Sometimes he could hit the net with regularity, other times he passes the puck like a grenade. Sometimes he’s the most involved player on the ice, and other times he’s the last player back on defense.
And we know he can be really, really good! So it makes it all the more maddening that he couldn’t show that he could consistently take over shifts like he can...and also he got hurt, robbing him of the chance to even think about doing that over the course of a full season. Drafting Bolduc will mean doing a lot of the usual developmental deals of trying to sure up his game so that he can be consistent, but also working on building his confidence in defense and especially in stick drills so he can do some really dangerous stuff with that shot of his.
Bolduc is generally considered a late first rounder due to his sheer offensive strength, but a lot of people are either cautious to say he could be a boom or bust kind of prospect due to his inconsistency.
Personally, if you wanted an offense first finisher, I definitely think trying to work out the kinks of an inconsistent player can be worth it. Can be.
But you have to trust your development staff to do it. What do you think?
- 22nd by EliteProspects.com’s Consolidated Rankings
- 49th by EliteProspects.com
- 25th by FC Hockey
- 22nd by Neutral Zone Hockey
- 19th by TSN (Bob Mckenzie)
- 29th by McKeen’s Hockey
- 18th by TSN (Craig Button)
- 17th by NHL Central Scouting among North American Scouting
- 24th by SportsNet
- 24th by ISS Hockey
- 28th by DobberProspects
- 43rd by Smaht Scouting
|2017-18||CMI M16||LHPS M16||22||21||17||38||28|
|CMI M18||LHPS M18||8||2||1||3||2|
|2019-20||Sioux City Musketeers||USHL||2||0||0||0||0|
|Canada Red U17||International||5||2||3||5||10|