The Hockey Writers Nashville Predators staff writer Colin Fitts will evaluate the performance of each player on the 2014-15 Predators roster every weekday in alphabetical order. You can follow Colin on Twitter, @FittsTHW.
Position: Left wing
Height/Weight: 5-foot-10, 192lbs
Stat Line: 69 GP, 3 G, 10 A, 13 PTS, -13 +/-, 10 PIMS, 141 hits, 44 blocked shots, 12:00 AVG TOI
Playoffs Stat Line: 5 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, -3 +/-, 2 PIMS, 20 hits, 10 blocked shots, 15:25 AVG TOI
*Points at Home vs Away: Home – 1 G, 6 A | Away – 2 G, 4 A
*Giveaway/Takeaway Correlation: 14 giveaways, 27 takeaways
Contract Status: Restricted free agent ($825,000 cap hit in 2014-15)
Highlight of the Year: Nothing about Gabriel Bourque’s game can be classified as a “wow moment.” It was extremely difficult to find a highlight of the year for Bourque, but this goal from the French-Canadian in a 4-0 rout against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 1 is excellent. After forchecking hard, Bourque forced a turnover which led to his goal.
Strengths: Bourque plays bigger than himself. Despite being under 6-foot, he is not afraid to go into the corners and battle for the puck. With his deceptive speed, he is one of the best forecheckers in the NHL. Last season, Nashville relied on him heavily to kill penalties. With 2:52 of average shorthanded time on ice per game, he led all forwards and was second behind only Shea Weber.
Weaknesses: In a year when Bourque needed to at least replicate the past two seasons offensively, he did not. His offensive production dropped 13 points from last season. He is a hard-worker but definitely does not know to score goals.
What to Expect Next Season: Despite low offensive numbers, Nashville should re-sign Bourque. His role is not to be a 20-goal scorer. Instead, it is to kill penalties and be tenacious by wearing the opponents down, and he does that well.
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Colin Fitts is a Nashville Predators staff writer and is a credentialed media member of the Chicago Wolves. From Nashville, Tennessee, Colin majors in journalism and public relations at Columbia College Chicago. Follow him on Twitter, @FittsTHW. Email: 22fitts [at] gmail [dot] com.