Please welcome David Francoeur who has authored a guest article about the Canadiens prospect obtained in the Ryan O’Byrne trade.
SHAWINIGAN, QC. — I would like to introduce you to Montreal’s newest prospect acquisition, Michaël Bournival. I have the chance to see him play almost all of his games so I know what kind of player and person he is. The media always talks about Louis Leblanc but we haven’t heard much about Bournival. I’ll try to depict him the best I can so you have an idea of the player he is right now and what he can do for the Habs in the future.
The captain of the Shawinigan Cataractes in the QMJHL is in the third year of his junior career. Team Canada Juniors recently invited him to their camp in Toronto. He had a good camp but they decided to cut him. It wasn’t easy to let him go. Assistant coach André Tourigny told the media he was the last player to be cut.
Bournival has good speed, a very good shot and his passing skills are great too. Yes he is a skilled player but this isn’t his biggest force. What makes him a great player is his work ethic. Of all the players you’ll see on the ice, he’ll be the one who put the best effort on the ice.
Every game, every shift, Bournival’s gives everything he has on the ice. People in Montreal always loved guys who gave their all for the team. Just think about Steve Bégin some years ago. Some fans even wanted to see Bégin as the captain of the team. Michaël is the same type of player but way more skilled and he almost never takes penalties. Fans will love him. I don’t know what kind of impact he’ll have in the NHL but he’s got the tools to get there.
Outside the rink
If he is giving his 110 percent on the ice, it’s the same thing outside of it. The Habs prospect is always working hard in the gym and he follows a strict diet. His life is commited to hockey.
On a recent trip of the Cataractes in the Maritimes, the team won almost all their games and the coach wanted to congratulate his players by rewarding them. Coach Veilleux asked the bus to stop at a store so the guys could buy chips, chocolate and other things they don’t eat normally. As the players cameback to the bus you could see Doritos, Kit Kat bars and even pizzas.
One of the coaches asked Bournival if he wanted a slice of pizza but declined the offer. He said it wasn’t good for him. Instead he had bought peanuts. I think the best we can compare him in terms of ethics and lifestyle outside the rink in the NHL is none other than Sidney Crosby.
The “Metronome,” his nickname in Shawinigan, isn’t a captain who will talk a lot. He’s the kind of player who leads by example. It was his work ethic that earned himself the “C” on his jersey. As for the nickname, it comes from his consistency, almost every games you’ll see his name on the scoresheet.
Nobody can tell the future or how a player will react playing with the pros. My guess on Bournival is he should be in the AHL for two or three years and be with the Canadiens after that. That would be a realistic path for the kind of player he is. He has the tools to be a good third line center with enough offensive skills to be on a second line.
Let’s not speculate too much, right now the most realistic scenario is the third line. My fear in this case is that Louis Leblanc will be ahead of him in the Canadiens propects chart. These two players play center and are able to play as wingers too. They are the same type of players too with defensive skills and good upside on offense. The fact that Leblanc was drafted by the team and not Bournival could be an argument too. But that’s politics. I always said that it’s what you do on the ice that matters and nothing else.
Bottom line is that the Montreal Canadiens got a solid prospect in exchange of Ryan O’Byrne and fans should expect good things from this young man in the future.
(Credit to Steve Turcotte of Le Nouvelliste)
(Photo credit: Francis Vachon)