Rene Bourque - RW
6'2" 211 lbs
2011-12 Stats 76GP- 18G- 6A- 24 Pts
Bourque is heading into the third year of a six year contract which has an average cap hit of $3.33 million. Naturally, that may seem like a high price to pay for a forward who lacked in production last season and finished with a -24 rating.
However, 2011-12 was Bourque's worst season production wise since 2007-08, when he accumulated 24 points with the Chicago Blackhawks. Since then Bourque has scored 83 goals and put up 164 points in 287 games.
If Bourque can regain his scoring touch and have a 50+ point season similar to his previous two campaigns then he may live up to his cost.
His eight points and -16 rating in his 38 games with the Canadiens last season was definitely a disappointment.
To be fair, there were not many players who didn't under perform last year and 2012-13 will be a test to his worth with the club.
With the success of the Pacioretty-Desharnais-Cole line last season Bourque will likely start on the second line with Plekanec and Gionta. A natural right winger, Bourque will need to adapt to the left side of the ice as Gionta will return to the right wing.
If coach Michel Therrien can get Bouque to use his size and play more physically then he should be able to produce, thus earning him some time on the second powerplay unit. With his build, Bourque has the potential to stir up traffic in front of the opposition's goal and bang in some blue collar goals.
Until Bourque can provide some offense he will continue to be a scapegoat for the team's struggles. Will having Gionta return to the line up help boost his numbers? Or would Bourque fit more on the thrd line with Lars Eller, playing on his natural right side?
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Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com You can follow Sean on Twitter.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)