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Blackhawks’ No. 17 pick in 2020 NHL Draft: Making case for Mavrik Bourque

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The Shawinigan Cataractes center’s vision and hockey IQ make him an intriguing possibility as a future two-way center.

Shawinigan Cataractes v Quebec Remparts Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images

The Second City Hockey staff will profile 10 players leading up to the 2020 NHL Draft, which will start Oct. 6, the Blackhawks could have the opportunity to select at No. 17 overall.

The general consensus among scouting reports and prospect reviews of Mavrik Bourque suggest the forward’s No. 1 talent is his vision, a cerebral understanding of what’s happening on the ice that allows him to flourish in offensive situations.

He has no relation to former Bruins legend Ray Bourque or former Blackhawks forward Rene Bourque, but that does not mean there’s a dearth of NHL-capable talent in Mavrik Bourque. Combined with his superior vision are skillful hands that can deliver crisp passes into windows that few players would even see. He also has a decent shot, which allowed him to add 29 goals to his 42 assists during 49 games QMJHL last season, a 71-point performance that was tied for 18th in the league. He did this as a standout on a Shawinigan team that went from abysmal in 2018-19 to decent this past season, largely through Bourque’s contributions.

The physical tools won’t jump off the screen, with Bourque being slightly undersized (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) and not possessing the type of breakaway speed that gives defenders fits. He’s also shown an ability to handle penalty kill minutes, raising the possibility of his potential NHL career including the dual responsibilities of a two-way center.

Organizational fit

The Blackhawks would have Bourque play his third season in the QMJHL before he turns pro. He could benefit from a season in the AHL to develop more then try to crack Chicago’s NHL roster in 2022 as the third-line center behind Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach. Evan Barratt and Philipp Kurashev are centers in the Blackhawks prospect pool, but most believe they could transition to wing in the NHL.

Basics

Position: Center

Age: 18 (Jan 8., 2002)

Hometown: Plessisville, Quebec

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 185 pounds

Shoots: Right

Team: Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)

Draft rankings

NHL Central Scouting (NHL): No. 22 North American skater

Elite Prospects: No. 12

Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): No. 16

Corey Pronman (The Athletic): No. 19

Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects): No. 18

Craig Button (TSN): No. 20