After a disastrous debut in 2011-12 upon being acquired from Calgary, Rene
Bourque’s first ‘full’ season with the Habs was a step in the right direction.
His ability to play both wings proved beneficial as he moved up and down the
lineup while he finished the year on the top line. It appears Bourque
could very well be ‘Mr. Versatile’ again, how will that affect his production
for the 2013-14 campaign?
It was a tale of two halves for the 31 year old winger. In the first
half, Bourque got off to a strong start, collecting 10 points in his first 14
games. After that, he had just three points in his final thirteen games
while suffering his second concussion since joining Montreal, costing him 21
contests. Nonetheless, he was able to best his output following the
Cammalleri deal in eleven fewer games. In the postseason, Bourque often
found himself on the top line, in large part due to the barrage of injuries the
team suffered. He was one of only two forwards (the other being Brendan
Gallagher) to score multiple goals in the Habs’ first round loss to Ottawa.
Season Stats: 27 GP, 7 G, 6 A, 13 PTS, -1 rating, 32 PIMS, 2
PPG, 1 GWG, 63 shots, 16:19 ATOI
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of
2012-13’s numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
Bourque’s likely role is going to change regularly throughout the year.
Though a natural RW, he’ll likely often see time on the left side, which will
provide him with a chance to play on any of the top three lines. If the
coaching staff wants to keep the young line of Galchenyuk-Eller-Gallagher
together as the third unit, Bourque should slide in on the second unit alongside
Tomas Plekanec. The other winger would likely be one of Brian Gionta or
newly acquired Daniel Briere.
However, I expect him to see a drop in powerplay time from the 2:43 per game
he had last season. The young line will need to get more time than the
very little they had last year while the likes of Plekanec, Briere, Max
Pacioretty, and David Desharnais are likely assured spots with the man advantage
as well. That could leave Bourque in more of a third PP role although
injuries and demotions will still give him some opportunities. Bourque
took on a role with the penalty kill late in the year and in the postseason and
did reasonably well, I’d look for him to see more time there than the 0:29 ATOI
he saw last year.
A spread-out attack is always nice to have as a fan of a team but it doesn’t
bode as well for fantasy owners, particularly when it comes to Bourque.
Although he’ll still see some time in the top six and on the powerplay, he’s a
strong candidate to cede ice time as the likes of Galchenyuk and Gallagher take
on higher workloads. That coupled with his injury history (he has already
had seven different injuries costing him 10+ games in eight NHL seasons) makes
him a risky selection in your pool. I wouldn’t be comfortable with him
being higher than a fourth winger at the left wing in most leagues; he could
pass as a third winger in deep ones. He has had more goals than assists in
four of the last five years so bump him up a notch or two in leagues that place
higher value on goals but don’t think about taking him until late in your draft.