|5-5 Pts/60||CF%||CF% rel||Sh%||Sv%||PDO||Pen +/- per 60|
Gabriel Bourque, a huge surprise in offense in 2012-13, was second on the team in goals with eleven behind David Legwand (12 goals and played fourteen more games). The Predators, although bringing in the likes of Stalberg and Cullen for some offensive pop, believed that Bourque could keep pace with his numbers from the prior year. His shooting percentage was through the roof at 22%, but this would regress to the mean. Unfortunately for Bourque, and to a higher extent the Predators offense, his shooting percentage dipped to 8.3%. He was able to chip in with seventeen assists and committed only four penalties. Another drop off in performance can be traced to a lack of PP goals and SH goals (0 in 2013-14, 3 PPG and 1 SHG in 2012-13). Perhaps the misuse of Bourque along with the constant line shuffling of coach Trotz may have been the cause for his anemically offensive campaign.
Both goals in the Dallas game on 4/9/14 by Bourque came at the hash marks of the face-off circles. The highlight below shows just how dangerous Bourque is when given time and space in the slot (and how heads-up Gaustad was to intercept the puck for the perfect feed). The only downside to Bourque's two-goal night was that this was the end for the Predators playoff hopes when they were officially bounced in a shootout loss (of course).
The Road Ahead:
Gabriel Bourque is an RFA for another year under contract at which time the Predators have the option to retain his services for either a modest raise, or if he breaks out offensively this season under the direction of Laviolette, a more lucrative contract. Bourque has the flashes of offense and a nose for the net as he has shown in the past (and the above video). He is a product of the drafting and system of Nashville and it is hoped that the right combination of talent around him could elevate his game to the level previously seen in the shortened season. His possession numbers give the team a great foundation for the puck-possession game that may be employed by the new skipper. Either way, the Predators have one more year to kick the tires on Bourque and if the fit isn't right, he could become part of a package at the trade deadline next year. Personally, I could see him being a very dangerous individual on the third line if used as an energy line against some weaker competition. Bourque's speed and maintenance of the puck would be highly effective further down the depth chart with the likes of Gaustad and Nystrom.
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