Ryan Bourque: A Ranger in 2011?

August 16, 2011, by

Amid all the players battling for a roster spot this September one player that could surprise Rangers fans might be Ryan Bourque but what do the Rangers have at their disposal in the Hall of Famer’s son? Bourque could be a great option for the bottom six given his brand of hockey and could be one to look out for.

Bourque’s style fits well with the way the Rangers played last season but he needs to stay healthy. When Bourque did play he contributed offensively grabbing 59 points in 49 games for the Remparts in the QMJHL last season.  However it’s the way he plays the game that could give Ray Bourque’s son a chance to break the roster straight away.

While guys like Christian Thomas are being (rightfully) touted as dark horses to crack the line up there doesn’t seem an ideal fit given the competition and an offensive player like Thomas needs top 6 minutes which doesn’t seem likely. Bourque however, can play a bottom six role, help establish a forecheck and provide a bit of offensive on occasion too.

Bourque may be a good option on Brian Boyle’s line if Tortorella decides to break up the Fedotenko –Boyle – Prust trio. Replacing Fedotenko with Bourque gives the line more speed, more offensive upside and in turn Boyle and Prust can help protect the smallish rookie winger. It seems a win-win scenario.  However, is Bourque ready for prime time hockey in his first season as a pro?

Every time Bourque has stepped up a level he has seemingly succeeded. Having played effectively for US U-18 squads, Bourque played two solid years as a Quebec Rempart. During that time Bourque played for the US WJC team twice where his role was more of a defensive one. He played effectively in a checking role playing a key role in helping the US team earn gold in 2010 proving he can adapt to a different role as well as handle elite competition.

Are there roster spots up for grabs? There may not be a spot to have, depending on how secure you think Sean Avery, Wojtek Wolski and Erik Christensen are on the current roster. If one or two of them can be outplayed then a rookie like Bourque can make it with a strong camp. Indeed, if Wolski and Christensen aren’t deemed worthy of top 6 spots then Bourque is a better fit on the lower lines anyway.

In recent times the Rangers have given chances to players if they have earned them. Mike Sauer forced the Rangers to keep him on the roster last season and Derek Stepan bypassed the minors thanks to an impressive display of skill and maturity. Starting in Traverse City where he’ll need to have a strong showing Bourque isn’t without hope to crack the Rangers line up and he’d be a good story to follow if he makes it.


  1. Matt J says:

    To be honest I was against the re-signing of Feds and situations like this is why. I mean Feds was supposed to be a quick fix for te team and that’s it. I like the competition for rookies and all but if Feds is outplayed by hagelin then Feds should hit the bench. I like Feds as a injury replacement but nothing more. As far as I’m concerned Feds is fighting for a roster spot and he shouldn’t be guaranteed anything.

    • The Suit says:

      You’re still caught up in pre-Torts years

    • Dave says:

      I don’t necessarily think this is an issue. Feds won’t play if he doesn’t produce, or if he is outplayed by the rookies. There is no need to rush these kids, and there is no need to gift wrap them roster spots.

      • John says:

        I was also against re-signing Feds. Although he was a good soldier last season, I think the Rangers got the most value they could have out of that one year one million deal he was on. Yes, Feds earned a raise, but I would have rather had the Rangers walk away and replaced his spot with a younger player. Feds took a beating last year and I’d be surprised if he matches his performance this season with last years.

  2. RangerSmurf says:

    It’s a good thought, Bourque’s arguably the best non-NHL center we have in the system right now. (either him or Lindberg) However, I think we’re a year away from that. Stepan and Sauer had obvious open spots for them to earn, whereas the lineup right now is pretty jammed up, and guys are playing more to keep spots than gain them.

    I think next year is when you’ll see the next wave of youth come through, replacing Fedotenko, Wolski, Avery, and Christensen.

    • John says:

      I highly doubt Bourque is a center at the pro-level. It’s much more difficult to make up for being undersized as center than it is on the wings. I don’t think it’s correct to view him as a center in the future.

  3. Dave says:

    No need to rush him, but if he forces his way on the roster, I’m ok with that.

  4. ArtyFan says:

    I think Thomas has better chance. Bourque so far can be 3rd liner, but vacancy? I didn’t want EC resign last summer(100% proven stiff), Wolski? Yes and No, depends on his desire to play on top line and work with 100% effort). Aves? Well, it all depends on Torts, he is good skater and checker. Feds was brought not to take a seat on the bench. If any rookies will crack the line up I don’t think it’s Bourque for this year.

  5. Zen says:

    Most scouts/experts see Bourque as a career AHLer… so unless I see otherwise, I would say that it is quite unlikely. Hagelin and Thomas have better chances.

    • Chris says:

      most experts lazily use the size reason to justify that forecast. Plenty of players have risen beyond their size. Given his background I’m not writing him off at all. He’s owned by a team committed to youth so if he plays well he has a chance.

  6. sby says:

    Size is a very important factor, Borque doesn’t have a chance to crack the roster.He needs to put on at least 15 pounds of muscle weight.

  7. rob sahm says:

    we should be talking about zuccarello making the roster not about borque

    • Chris says:

      well MZA making the roster is a different animal because his situation is different. His potential spot/location on the roster is on a different line but yeah, he will be discussed here again too.

      Difference is as well that MZA is kind of under the microscope this coming season whereas no one is giving Bourque any chance yet he’s a very talented kid.

  8. JDR says:

    Thank you. Zuccarello has the greatest potential. He clicked well with Stepan last year and can score big goals.

  9. The Suit says:

    I dont see him making it this year, if at all. He has too many guys he’d have to out play. His brother was just as talented and is a career minor leaguer, that scares me just as much as his size.

    Small players can suceed and surprise, but it is because they have something special about them. Bourque is a 5’8 grinder?

    • Chris says:

      I see Bourque as much more than a grinder he just happens to do that well too. he makes space for his line mates, has an unreal work ethic and clearly has skill as well. No reason he cannot make it at some point.

      • The Suit says:

        So optimistic, this is why we are internet friends…but I doubt Bourque will be ever be more than a 3rd liner, if that. Hard to be a grinder at 5’8 160. My guess is he gets traded in the next year or two.

  10. KC says:

    A grinder? If the Rangers want a grinder on the bottom two lines, it sure as hell better be someone bigger than Bourque. He was drafted with the hope that he would contribute offensively, I don’t see that happening, especially after watching him fumble the puck every time he had a scoring chance at the WJC. He’s a poor man’s Tom Pyatt,what’s that say about his upside?

  11. pavel says:

    I love when people get pissed because our kids can’t get a roster spot because of guys like Fedotenko on the team. Like if one of our prospect doesn’t come up right away he’ll suddenly just forget how to play hockey. Only good things can come from someone spending some time in the minors. And if he doesn’t come up until he’s 22-23, so be it. It’s not like any of these guys are hall of famers and we’re ruining their chances at getting 1000 points or something. And you know who loves making their prospects really spend time in the minors? The Red Wings. Seems like it’s working.

    • The Suit says:

      Agreed. Plus Torts has no problem benching veterans and replacing them with youth. This isn’t Muckler, Low, or Trottier’s team.

  12. Mike Mad says:

    Hey guys Feds is a good hard working player who will thrive with Gaborik.We do need a grinder who can throw them so Prust Sauer and Rupp aren’t taken off the ice all the time.Dilan Micilrath is the stud we need on defence.So teams know there is no free ride infront of Henry!

  13. Dave says:

    I’m not a big Bourque fan, size being the main thing. A player his size needs to either be strong on his legs or elusive (see: St. Louis, Martin). Right now, Bourque is neither.

    Hopefully he develops that part of his game and avoids being another Petr Prucha, or even worse, Corey Locke. But as of now, I’m not sold on him.

  14. Billrabatin says:

    I’m glad someone finally mentioned St.Louis…size doesn’t mean everything in the new NHL…Bourque’s a defensive forward w/ 59 pts. in 49 games? how’s his face off record?The old Rangers never gave kids a chance,Now anyone can WORK their way onto this team…What a concept FINALLY!