With the 17th pick of the 2021 NHL Draft, the St. Louis Blues have selected Zachary Bolduc from the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)
About Zachary Bolduc
After playing in the shadow of eventual first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere last season, scouts wondered if Zachary Bolduc’s point totals were a product of playing with a superstar. Clearly, that was not the case as he continued to produce without him in 2020-21. Despite being uprooted several times during the season due to COVID-19 delays, he put together a very solid 10 goals and 29 points in 27 games, serving notice that he was the real deal.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“The Rimouski Oceanic had a player drafted first overall in 2020 for the third time in their history. Alexis Lafreniere joined Sidney Crosby and Vincent Lecavalier as the third player in their history to have that distinguished honor. With Lafreniere in the NHL, the Oceanic had big shoes to fill and Bolduc has done that. He leads the team in total points and trails only second-year draft eligible Xavier Cormier for the point per game lead.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
“Bolduc is an enigmatic prospect. He has good size and skates very well. His vision and hockey intelligence are amongst the best in the QMJHL. Despite this, at times, he seems to make awful reads and fire the puck down the rink for an icing when there were several good options. Perhaps it is a lack of giving it all each shift or maybe he just isn’t as good as he seems, but rather gets lucky with some of his reads. Though the latter seems unlikely, it is really hard to tell sometimes.
“When he is at his best though, he looks like a clear top prospect in this draft. He can skate his way out of or around trouble. He can (usually) find teammates and set them up for scoring chances. When he’s not doing any of those things, he is using his shot, which is also very good. Though he could be a bit more selective, his shot is above average. In fact, taking all of his best qualities, it is easy to see why some have him as a likely top selection.
“According to QMJHL Dobber Prospects scout Brayden Olafson, the consistency of Bolduc’s game has improved since the QMJHL January reboot to the 2020-21 season. The game-to-game and shift-to-shift inconsistencies are diminished and he is looking more and more like a solid top 20 prospect. His defensive game leaves some to be desired still, but most of the limitations to Bolduc’s game seem coachable. The raw tools he possesses aren’t so easy to come by.”
How This Affects Blues’ Plans
Bolduc is a prototypical Blues pick. He’s big, he’s smart and he can shoot. The Blues need more scoring in their lineup and he will bring that and more. He could actually develop into a player like Ryan O’Reilly if all things go right. He may need to work on his consistency to get to that level, but that will come with time.
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, media editor, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.