With the Canadian League finals all in mid-swing, there are plenty of great performances to speak of and with two priority drafts also taking place on the weekend, the next generation of juniors earns some time in the spotlight, as well.
1. Marc-Andre Bourdon, D – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL): Rouyn-Noranda isn’t the easiest place in the world to get to. With the exception of Val d’Or, the northern Quebec destination is pretty remote, which may explain why scouts had the Quebec League’s best defenseman at the bottom of the draft rankings when the midterm rankings came out.
“For the first list I was pretty surprised,” said Bourdon, who was ranked No. 202 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. “I panicked a bit.”
Fortunately, Bourdon got good advice from his coaches and agent, who pointed out he doesn’t get the exposure other prospects from the Q get.
With that in mind, Bourdon torched the league this year, tallying 59 points, 114 penalty minutes (including eight fights) and an outstanding plus-39 rating en route to being named the league’s defenseman of the year and a first team all-star.
On a team that also features Dallas blueline prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy and another defensive scoring machine in Sebastien Piche, Bourdon’s Huskies rolled through the playoffs, sweeping their first three opponents.
“The most important thing is our veterans,” Bourdon said. “Other teams took leads on us in games, but we were able to stay cool and come back.”
Having down time never hurts, either.
“We have had a lot of rest between series,” he added. “It gave us time to study our opponents.”
Right now, the Huskies are locked in a final battle with Gatineau, where the Olympiques have finally pierced Rouyn-Noranda’s armor for a 1-1 series tie. In the meantime, Bourdon’s draft stock has shot up; he was No. 125 in the NHL’s final rankings.
“Now I don’t panic,” Bourdon said. “I just won defenseman of the year, so what else can I do?”
Seems like a nice find, have only seen bits and pieces but he didn't look all that slow in the QMJHL. Hopefully he at least has good lateral movement, you can cover for speed but playing a sound positional game. I think he is a good bet at this position, probably be a couple years before we see him with the big club though.
Danny Duberstein is good at two things ...
As the crowds thinned and the eager kids in the stands traded their suits and ties for hockey jerseys, the 2008 NHL Entry Draft picture became a great deal clearer.
Here are some of the themes from Day 2 that are worth noting:
Philly scooped up Quebec League defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon in the third round, despite a lower draft ranking. Clearly geography was at work for draft pundits, as Rouyn-Noranda isn’t the most accessible town in the world, despite Bourdon’s exciting all-round game.
This guy had a huge cheering section in the 100 and 200 level. He def got one of the loudest cheers (from rounds 2-7) when his name was called. He stayed down at the Flyer's table for a good long time and then stood around with his agent by the table and made some cell phone calls. He seemed really, really pumped to be selected by the Flyers. Great pick!!!