logo

Edmonton Oilers Prospect Countdown #2: Xavier Bourgault

alt
Bruce Curlock
5 months ago
Xavier Bourgault, the Edmonton Oilers 2021 first-round pick, is in at #2 on the Prospect Countdown.
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Nationality: Canada
Date of Birth: October 22, 2002
Drafted: 1st Round, 2021
Height: 6’0″ / 183 cm
Weight: 172 lbs / 78 kg
Ranking last year: #3
If there were two clips of Bourgault’s freshman pro season that summarize his experience, it would be these two.

Failed to load video.

Failed to load video.

Bourgault had an up-and-down season with Bakersfield last year and a lot of the down parts related to his size and strength relative to the players he was up against. Now that is ok. This is why the AHL exists. Teams want to put their young players there and let them sort through the development path they need to follow on their way to the NHL.
For Bourgault, he likely learned two things: he needs to get stronger and he needs to skate with more of a forward tilt and a wider base. The great news is that these are areas of improvement that are not unusual for young pros and they are certainly within his ability to improve upon.
As can been seen, Bourgault also had challenges scoring, which was his calling card in junior. Again, a lot of that can be attributed to what I talked about above, but there is reason to be optimistic here. While Bourgault finished 185th in AHL scoring. Only 16 players his age or younger had his point totals. In addition, Bourgault played on a dreadful offensive team which finished 24th out of 32 teams, and he also missed time with a concussion that impacted his season. Finally, for the first half of the season, Bourgault, as well as all the other rookies, laboured under a very challenging coaching environment. An environment that says young players’ ice time is limited and mistakes are punished quite harshly. These eased up in the second half and that led to better results. Indeed, as Bourgault has 11 points in his last 14 games of the season.
Make no mistake Bourgault has NHL-level offensive skills. His puck skills are sublime.

Failed to load video.

Failed to load video.

In addition, his vision inside the offensive zone is very strong.

Failed to load video.

Failed to load video.

Bourgault also has no qualms about defending. He works very hard and has a great stick. He actually played a surprising amount on the penalty kill this past season and he was very effective.

Failed to load video.

Failed to load video.

This is really important because this is an area of the game that young, offensive skills players usually struggle with. Not Bourgault. He seems to relish the challenge.
His effort level is also pretty consistent at the high end. He does not lack enthusiasm to chase the puck.

Failed to load video.

No question, Xavier Bourgault had a tougher first pro year than many of us expected. He certainly needs to work on some elements of his game that will surely help him develop. However, his season was not all bad. There was good in there that should be encouraging to Oiler fans. I expect a really big improvement from Bourgault this season and should that be the case, there is an opportunity on the right side of a skill line for him in Edmonton.

Previously in the countdown

Check out these posts...