Who exactly is Rene Bourque? Once a 27-goal scorer for the Calgary Flames, he’s had one relevant NHL moment since the 2011 season, coming in last year’s playoffs for the Canadiens. Besides that, he really hasn’t done a thing to warrant the faith that general managers routinely show him.
Acquired in November for the much maligned Bryan Allen, Bourque was brought on by general manager Bob Murray to shore up Anaheim’s secondary scoring.
In the wake of the trade, Murray told ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun that, “[Bourque is] a very streaky scorer. What I do like about him is his size and his skating. I think, at times, we’re not moving well enough. I don’t know why. We’re just not.”
Murray’s logic at face value was absolutely spot on. Bourque has always been a streaky scorer throughout his career, and he moves relatively well for his 6′ 2”, 217-pound frame.
Yet with two goals in 24 games as a Duck, it’s safe to say that Bourque doesn’t even classify as streaky anymore. He might just not be all that good.
Having size and speed is a positive pairing in a vacuum, but they both go largely irrelevant if they don’t lead to a positive impact on play. Murray assessed that his team wasn’t moving well enough at the time of the trade (whatever that means), and concluded that Bourque was part of the solution.
Does Bourque Make Anaheim Better?
Initially spending good chunks of time on Anaheim’s top two lines, Bourque actually made his teammates worse when it came to shot attempt percentages. Ryan Getzlaf has a 52.4 shot attempt percentage away from Bourque, and a whopping 48.7 percent with him on his line.
That’s not a negligible difference, it’s a clear indication that Getzlaf’s play was hampered by Bourque. Clearly he wasn’t the answer in that role, and with the return of Kyle Palmieri, Boudreau gradually shifted Bourque to the bottom two lines.
One would assume that the former University of Wisconsin Badger, in a more limited role and set of expectations, would contribute more effectively. In some instances, this rings true.
Nate Thompson’s shot attempt percentage jumps up two percent with Bourque. Rickard Rakell’s percentage gets absolutely torpedoed with him on the ice though, dropping 14(!!!) percent. Andrew Cogliano also enjoys a nice jump without Bourque.
The eye test has been equally uninspiring, as he’s largely been invisible on most nights, logging a measly 9:05 of playing time in Anaheim’s latest contest, only to then be a healthy scratch against Carolina.
So if Rene Bourque hinders the play of the majority of his linemates, what exactly does he bring to Bruce Boudreau’s squad? His minutes have been steadily diminishing in the last six games, and his most recent trip to the press box may indicate that Ducks fans may never find out.
Felix Sicard is the Anaheim Ducks’ Lead Writer for The Hockey Writers. Now in his third season of covering the team, he writes previews and recaps for all Ducks’ home games, as well as weekly analysis pieces.
In addition to covering the Ducks at THW, Felix co-hosts SB Nation’s Anaheim Calling: The Podcast, as well as hosting The Garage Hockey Podcast.
For consistent Ducks’ content, be sure to check out his Twitter @Felix_Sicard.