With their sixth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the Montreal Canadiens have drafted Rimouski Oceanic defenceman Simon Bourque.
In his second season with the QMJHL team, the Greenfield Park, Quebec native contributed 10 goals and 38 total points in the regular season — mostly in the second half — and helped the Oceanic to a Q championship and a place in the Memorial Cup tournament.
Known for his good awareness and puck-handling abilities, Bourque is also a leader on his team, receiving an 'A' in the 2014-15 season and being projected by Hockey Prospectus to don the 'C' next season for the club.
His playmaking abilties saw him receive top-four time and a spot on the poweplay. He relies on his stick skills to play effectively in the defensive zone rather than attempting to muscle his check off the puck.
Interview (from Memorial Cup)
Bourque was drafted by the Oceanic in the 2nd round of the 2013 QMJHL draft and made a good impact with the team last year, as he played big minutes in the 2nd half of the season. Again this year, Bourque played a big role with the team, playing in a top-4 role, being used in all situations and wearing an A on his jersey. Bourque is a player who plays with a lot of heart and works extremely hard on the ice. He has a very good compete level even if he lacks ideal size for a defenseman. He’s a capable puck mover; he’s able to play on the power play and makes smart decisions with the puck.
On the power play he played more the role of the playmaker, he likes to set up his teammates on the man-advantage instead of being the shooter from the point. He’s more of a complimentary player on the man-advantage at this point in his development. He has a good, accurate shot from the point, but his velocity could see an improvement. Defensively he’s reliable, with above-average mobility and an ability to keep up with the best forwards in the league. He’s capable of playing physical in his own zone but relies more on his smarts and a good active stick to counter those top forwards. He’s consistent from game to game, rarely having a bad one, and always bounces back after a bad shift or game. It wouldn’t surprise us to see him wear the C as soon as next season with the Oceanic, as the management and coaching staff are really high on him. Bourque doesn’t have any great qualities and lacks the ideal size for a defensive NHL defenseman and that could cost him a chance to go in the first three rounds of the NHL draft, a mid-round pick for us.
Quotable: "Bourque is a player who does everything well on the ice but lacks a high end qualities, I love his compete level and has reminded me since his midget days of former Habs defenseman Josh Gorges." – HP scout Jérôme Bérubé
A solid, mature-‐minded, two-‐way blueliner who plays a solid game at both ends of the ice. He has a good, powerful stride with good speed and acceleration. He uses his skating power to join the rush and get involved offensively. Pivots well and has fluid all-‐direction mobility. He handles the puck well, using his strength on the puck and hand-‐speed to gain space to rush up ice or make a strong pass up ice. He distributes the puck effectively and has an accurate good wrist-‐shot from the point. His vision is high-‐end.
His slap shot is relatively weak and will need some work. He is strong defensively, playing aggressively and physical, but will need to continue to add strength to be more effective in that role. Keeps attackers to the outside and can keep up to the speedy opponents because of his strong skating ability. He makes good step-‐ups and aggressive plays to force guys wide and take them off the puck in the corners and along the boards. He is aggressive and tough down-‐low on defense. A guy who makes good decisions all over the ice and can play heavy minutes when called upon. This kid’s game is on a steep trajectory and only getting better.
Good puck-movement and great vision are traits that Marc Bergevin has been recently quoted as favouring for the defensive positions in the Canadiens organization, and Bourque seems to be a further confirmation of that strategy.
Bourque's selection served an ulterior purpose as well, helping to stock the almost-bare cupboard of left-handling defencemen in the system.