The Nashville Predators need to get production from their younger players. Gabriel Bourque was drafted in the 5th round of the 2009 NHL Draft. He signed a three-year entry level contract on April 15, 2010.
Bourque first broke in to the NHL during the 2011-2012 season. In 43 games Bourque scored 7 goals, and finished with 19 points. Last year during the lock-out shortened season; Gabriel played 34 games in Nashville scoring 11 goals, and putting up only 16 points. The left winger has been back and forth between Nashville and the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL). For his NHL career Bourque has played in 77 games and only has 35 points. It seems to me that if Bourque wants to remain a Predator he needs to crank up the production. The 23 year old is entering the point in a hockey player’s career when it becomes clear if he has what it takes to play in the league.
I will not call him a bust, because he was a 5th round pick, and has some success, but with the numbers of forwards in Nashville he could be on the short list of players that don’t make the cut.
Why he will stay in Nashville
- Ranked second on the team in goals (11) 2012-2013. Bourque missed 12 games due to injury.
- Bourque was fourth in the NHL in shooting percentage among players with at least 10 goals (22.0 percent).
- Tied for the team lead in plus/minus rating (+6) last year.
- Worth the money. His cap hit is only $775,000. Resigning him should not be too expensive.
Why he will not stay in Nashville
- The numbers game. Just too many forwards in the organization.
- Needs more production
- Doesn’t seem to fit an enforcer role, and not a 25 goal scorer.
- Size does matter, and the Predators have drafted small forwards. There are 8 forwards under 6 feet in the system.
- He could draw some trade interest if packaged correctly.
I think that Gabriel will remain a Predator, but let’s be honest unless something changes we are looking at a good third line player. If he can have that much needed break out season we could see Bourque in a Nashville jersey for another three years. What do you think?