With pick number 31 — the 30th overall selection with the Arizona Coyotes forfeiting pick number 11 — in the 2021 SB Nation NHL Mock Draft, Eyes On The Prize selects Xavier Bourgault from the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL.
This is the latest the Montreal Canadiens have ever selected in the first round in their history, and the latest they will make their first pick in a draft since 2008 when they didn’t have a first-rounder.
All of SB Nation’s NHL sites participate in this exercise annually, making the first-round pick of their respective team (this year with a few trades along the way). This draft isn’t expected to have as many future stars as the previous few or the next couple, but there are still some quality options for teams to choose from.
This is the list of picks that have been made so far:
- Owen Power (Buffalo Sabres)
- Matthew Beniers (Seattle Kraken)
- Dylan Guenther (Anaheim Ducks)
- Luke Hughes (New Jersey Devils)
- William Eklund (Columbus Blue Jackets)
- Mason McTavish (Detroit Red Wings)
- Kent Johnson (San Jose Sharks)
- Simon Edvinsson (Los Angeles Kings)
- Brandt Clarke (Vancouver Canucks)
- Fabian Lysell (Ottawa Senators)
- pick forfeited by Arizona Coyotes
- Jesper Wallstedt (Chicago Blackhawks)
- Cole Sillinger (Calgary Flames)
- Aatu Räty (Minnesota Wild)
- Corson Ceuelemans (Dallas Stars)
- Chaz Lucius (New York Rangers)
- Matthew Coronato (St. Louis Blues)
- Logan Stankoven (Winnipeg Jets)
- Oskar Olausson (Nashville Predators)
- Sebastian Cossa (Edmonton Oilers)
- Isak Rosen (Boston Bruins)
- Fyodor Svechkov (Minnesota Wild)
- Zachary Bolduc (Vegas Golden Knights)
- Carson Lambos (Florida Panthers)
- Nikita Chibrikov (Columbus Blue Jackets)
- Francesco Pinelli (Minnesota Wild)
- Brennan Othmann (Carolina Hurricanes)
- Olen Zellweger (Colorado Avalanche)
- Simon Robertsson (New Jersey Devils)
- Zach Dean (Detroit Red Wings)
- Xavier Bourgault (Montreal Canadiens)
- Columbus Blue Jackets
Last year we selected Cataractes foward Mavrik Bourque in the mock draft, liking his wide array of skills that give him a complete offensive game. This year, it’s his linemate Bourgault, who matched the eventual 30th overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft in points last season, and trailed by just three to Bourque in the COVID-impacted 2020-21 campaign. Bourgault had 20 goals and 20 assists in 29 games this season, leading the club in goals for the second straight year.
Birthplace: L’Islet, Quebec
Date of Birth: October 22, 2002
Position: Right Wing/Centre
Weight: 172 lbs.
Current Team: Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Bourgault has a quick, accurate shot, and does a good job of getting into positions to use it, but it’s not one that will often beat NHL goaltenders clean. He excels more in the playmaking department, ranking as one of the top draft-eligible players in shot assists,. The question is whether his average skating stride and low physicality will allow him the space to pull off those shots and passes as he advances to professional hockey.
Defence isn’t really something Bourgault believes in, and that will be the main thing he needs to work on before getting his NHL chance. He has been quite adept at escaping from the defensive zone with the puck, so perhaps it’s just a matter of paying more attention to the defensive details before gearing up to go on the attack.
Craig Button: #25
Dobber Prospects: #15
Elite Prospects: #37
Corey Pronman/The Athletic: #29
Hockey Prospect: #21
NHL Central Scouting: #13 (NA Skaters)
Bourgault is a bit of a project, and that’s usually the case outside of the top few picks of the draft, let alone one of the last ones of the first round. He’s quite elusive with his edgework, and his skating stride and physicality should improve as he builds up his strength over the next few years. He has the awareness and positional instincts to mitigate the effects of those deficiencies.
There’s no guarantee that he’s able to overcome his shortcomings, but that’s the risk a team takes at this stage of a draft. The offensive talent and sense for the game are there if he’s able to address the other parts of his game to take full advantage of it.
The history of Eyes On The Prize’s SB Nation NHL Mock Draft selections
2021: Xavier Bourgault (31st)
2020: Mavrik Bourque (16th)
2019: Thomas Harley (15th)
2018: Filip Zadina (third)
2017: Urho Vaakanainen (25th)
2016: Tyson Jost (ninth)
2015: Thomas Chabot (26th)
2014: David Pastrnak (26th)
2013: Josh Morrissey (25th)
2012: Mikhail Grigorenko (third)
2011: Mark Scheifele (17th)
2010: Ryan Spooner (27th)
2009: Scott Glennie (18th)
Given who was left on the board, who would be your pick at 30th overall?
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