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2021 NHL Draft Preview: Xavier Bourgault

“He’s very creative, has a really good stick, he’s smart, and he often makes plays that others don’t see. He’s elusive in his board play."
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BORN Oct. 22, 2002, L’Islet, Que.

2020-21 Shawinigan POS RW

HT 6-0 WT 172 SHOOTS R

INTERNATIONAL SCOUTING SERVICES No. 29

Last year, Bourgault put his name on the map with a monster sophomore campaign in the ‘Q,’ finishing in the top 20 in league scoring and then improving on it this season by finishing in the top 15. “He has a ton of potential,” said one scout. “He’s very creative, has a really good stick, he’s smart, and he often makes plays that others don’t see. He’s elusive in his board play. Typically for a player his size that wouldn’t be a strength, but he can maneuver there. He plays calm, collected and physicality doesn’t bother him, he plays through it.”

There’s one caveat: so far, Bourgault needs to be with the right linemates. Observers naturally loved him with Dallas first-rounder Mavrik Bourque and Carolina second-rounder Vasily Ponomarev, but Bourgault struggled when those players headed off to WJC camps. 

Luckily, the NHL is packed with skilled players for Bourgault to work with. “He’s a really smart player,” said another scout. “He has quick hands, comfortable with the puck, makes plays, and his offensive instincts are really good. Bourgault, Bourque and Ponomarev have really been driving that team, and Bourgault’s been a big part of it.”

BEST CASE | William Nylander

This excerpt is from The Hockey News' Draft Preview issue. Purchase a digital copy of the issue here or subscribe to The Hockey News here.

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