Expectations for Dallas Stars Prospects during 2022-23: Mavrik Bourque

BOISBRIAND, QC - OCTOBER 29: Mavrik Bourque #22 of the Shawinigan Cataractes skates the puck during the warmups against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada at Centre d'Excellence Sports Rousseau on October 29, 2021 in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada. The Shawinigan Cataractes defeated the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 5-4. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
BOISBRIAND, QC - OCTOBER 29: Mavrik Bourque #22 of the Shawinigan Cataractes skates the puck during the warmups against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada at Centre d'Excellence Sports Rousseau on October 29, 2021 in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada. The Shawinigan Cataractes defeated the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 5-4. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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After being drafted 30th overall in 2020, Mavrik Bourque had a tremendous time in Shawinigan. COVID pauses and injuries never seemed to stop him from elite junior production. Here are his numbers in the QMJHL after he was drafted (Goals + Assists):

Draft+1: 19 + 24 = 43 Points in 28 Games (1.536 P/GP)

Draft+2: 20 + 48 = 68 Points in 31 Games (2.194 P/GP)

2.19 points per game is the 123rd-best all-time for a season in the history of the QMJHL!

Listed below are the only other QMJHL players to put up similar points per game numbers in the last 20 years:

  • 2013-2014 Jonathan Drouin → 2.343
  • 2003-2004 Sidney Crosby → 2.288
  • 2013-2014 Anthony Mantha → 2.105
  • 2015-2016 Conor Garland → 2.065

That is some elite company. Is Mavrik Bourque as flashy as a Crosby or a young Drouin? No. So where does this production come from?

Mavrik Bourque is an uber-efficient hockey player, exerting energy when it matters and otherwise saving it for winning battles or creating space off the rush. He is a good skater with a quick shot and even better playmaking capabilities. On the powerplay, he can do it all himself or give the other shooters open chances for free goals when he chooses. Furthermore, his underlying metrics are legendary.

Throughout last season, he set up the Edmonton Oilers prospects Xavier Bourgault and Olivier Nadeau consistently and made other lesser-known players fit right into the system and look great when he took the ice with them. Shawinigan was arguably one of the top 5-8 teams in the QMJHL last year, but they were not the favourite to win the league championship. Even so, captain Mavrik pushed his team to become QMJHL champions, ultimately losing in the Memorial Cup final to host Saint John. He was too good for the QMJHL.

Heart, smarts, playmaking, shooting. This is the prototype for a consistent NHL playing style. Everything was on the ‘up and up’. Unfortunately, Mavrik was cut this past week and loaned to the AHL.

This was his year to graduate into professional hockey. He wanted to make Dallas but came a few cuts short. Now he finds himself with Texas’ AHL club. Mavrik isn’t the type of player to give up in these situations. What can Mavrik do this year to prove himself? Here are 3 main areas of focus:

Versatility

Among the players sent to the AHL over the past few weeks, Mavrik Bourque will be surrounded by like-minded hard workers and skilled players. Some of these players will have also just graduated like the skating wizard Antonio Stranges, while others have come from around the world to adjust to North American hockey like Matej Blumel. Regardless, Mavrik will be among a group of talented kids as well as AHL veterans like captain Curtis McKenzie. I expect Mavrik to be a leader on the ice.

This means that as the year begins, Bourque will need to be the first to learn how to play with each linemate he practices with and get the most out of those players. It is expected that Mavrik will play top-6 minutes, and likely at his natural position of Centre. Showing this versatility in being able to better his linemates, no matter who is on his wing, will help him develop on-ice success quickly, earn the respect of Dallas’ management throughout the season, and increase his chances of an NHL call-up.

Shooting

Mavrik Bourque needs to be more selfish. He has an underrated shot but is often ready to pass up the opportunity (pun intended). Despite presenting himself as a small playmaker, Bourque has a quick release on wrist shots and a great one-timer that gets him onto every powerplay opportunity available. Being a consistent shooting threat in the AHL will make him a more dangerous player off the rush, could open up space for his passing and will build his stock for that potential NHL call-up.

Consistency

This is the name of the game. Mavrik has done remarkable numbers in the QMJHL in his few years of growth in Shawinigan. If he can prove that he’ll transition to be the same dynamic player in the AHL, Dallas will have no choice but to give him some playing time.

Now is the time to show off for Dallas. Displaying his versatility, shooting, and consistency will get Mavrik his call up to Dallas in no time. No matter what happens this season, Mavrik Bourque will be a Star for a long time (pun intended). All the best to Bourque in his growth as an athlete and person this season.