If I had to guess, Gus has more upside (could turn into a solid number 4), but Bourdon has qualities (toughness, grit, little bit of snarl) that may make it easier for him to sustain himself as a 5-7 defenseman for a longer period of time.
I'd take Gustafsson now, mostly because I like that he has more longterm potential to be a better player, but he has some specific and significant conditioning to do if he wants to take the next step.
We'll never really figure out, as long as they are Flyers. I like both of them but they will be a spare part until their confidence is broken down or they just don't give a **** anymore. You know, the typical development path of defensemen rising the ranks through our organization.
Very early to peg who is going to do what. But I like Gus's game more than MAB's. His foot speed can get him out of trouble where as MAB seems to cough up the puck when he is pressured. Plus with Luke here he may get more time in the AHL to work on his game. I am really looking forward to see how Manning does in the future.
Part of me wants to say MAB because when he was healthy he was hitting, scoring, and looking like he was ready to play the big minutes.
Part of me wants to say Gus because he has been more consistent playing in the big league.
In reality they will both probably be equal - MAB being a shooter, shot blocker, and hitter with Gus being a skater, passer, and possibly someone who can break up plays. Now if we could combine the two into MAGUS then we have a true #1.
Gus is exempt from waivers for one more season.
This is the main reason why Bourdon will be on the NHL roster this year and Gus will start in the minors. They just can't send Bourdon down without taking the risk of losing him for nothing. And of course he wouldn't make it through recall wavers, if needed.
In todays NHL it's not only about about skills and hockey sense but also about payrolls and cap space. The 6/7th D job is Bourdon's to lose and he better stay healthy next season to keep it...