Rene Bourque was a whipping boy for fans for the majority of the regular season. However, his performance in the playoffs showed his potential and sets him up for an interesting offseason.
STATS: 63 Games | 9 G-7 A = 16 P | 32 PIM | -1 | 45.3% Corsi | 1.4 Point Shares
PLAYOFFS: 17 games | 8 G-3 A = 11 P | 27 PIM | +4 | 49.1% Corsi
STORY: Rene Bourque has always been a streaky player. He earned, mid-way through the season, the nickname “Almost Bourque” for the things he almost did. Almost scoring. Almost making a great move around a defender. Almost getting a breakaway. For a scorer to be held under 10 goals in over 60 games, it doesn’t bode well.
Michel Therrien benched Bourque down the stretch once the team became healthier and Bourque’s performance wasn’t up to par. In fact, you could argue that if Alex Galchenyuk had been healthy to open the playoffs, Bourque isn’t even in the lineup. Luckily for him, and the Canadiens, he struck fire with Lars Eller and Brian Gionta.
I was at Game 5 against the New York Rangers when Bourque scored his hat trick. It was really nice to see Bourque play the way he did in the playoffs. He is a very good third line winger if he can play that way. But whether he can play that way is the question. The Canadiens need a scoring winger or two on their team but can’t afford to keep one who doesn’t score.
Of his 1.4 point shares, only 0.3 came from his offence. That needs to change for Bourque to be productive.
GRADE: D- (Would be bumped up for playoff performance)
Bourque is exactly the player people thought he was. When he’s off, he’s pretty bad. When he’s on, he’s pretty good. He channeled his Mike Cammalleri and led the Canadiens in goal scoring for the playoffs. If he can be even remotely close to that in the regular season, he’s a bargain. But that is not an easy question to answer.
FUTURE: Bourque still has two years left at over $3 million in cap hit and the Canadiens have no more compliance buyouts. I think you either have to trade Bourque or wait and see how he plays this upcoming season. He has a role on this team provided he can put the puck in the net. Otherwise, you’d rather pay him to sit in the press box or to be bought out.
2016-2017: Unrestricted Free-Agent