Ray Bourque went straight from being selected in the first round of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft to winning the Calder Trophy for his 65-point 1979-80 campaign.
His son, Chris Bourque, hasn’t enjoyed the same kind of storybook beginning to his NHL career, but at the age of 26, he’s under contract with his father’s old team, the Boston Bruins, and they’re willing to give him a legitimate shot at making the team.
“I told [Chris] that I think he has a good chance of making our team. I told him that he’s just not there to go to Providence,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “If he goes to Providence then that’s great, but giving him a one-way deal in the second year speaks to how we feel about Chris. He’s got a couple of areas to work on and I told him that.”
So far Bourque has established himself as a star at the AHL level, but he hasn’t been able to prove himself in the NHL. Of course, he hasn’t really gotten much of a shot lately. He has played in just 33 NHL games, and none over the past two seasons.
In the AHL, he’s known as an offensive juggernaut, but he doesn’t necessarily need to earn a spot on one of Boston’s top two lines to be of value to them.
“He does have the ability to shoot and find seams, but he also has a grit element to his game where he can play lower down in the lineup if he has to,” said Chiarelli. “I told him – among other things – that he needs another quarter-step to maintain it at this level, and he’s a young guy so I think he will.”
He’s inked to a two-year deal at the crossroads of his career. He can still establish himself as a late bloomer like Matt Moulson or he could go down as one of those guys that just can’t quite make the jump like Alexandre Giroux.