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Getting to Know: Bourque and Torgersson

Wings looking at second, third rounds with multiple picks

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

Following the first phase of the NHL Draft Lottery this past Friday night, the Detroit Red Wings now know they will have the fourth overall pick in the first round.

While that might be disappointing, Steve Yzerman, executive vice president and general manager, said the Wings also have to focus on their later picks, especially in rounds where they have multiple picks.

The Wings will have three second-round picks -- their own, the Edmonton Oilers' pick (acquired in the trade that sent Andreas Athanasiou to Edmonton) and the Washington Capitals' pick (acquired in the trade that sent Nick Jensen to Washington).

"You need some of those picks to turn into players," Yzerman said Friday. "If it's just going to be we're going to draft and count on our first-round pick playing every year, it's going to take forever to build a good team. We're going to need players to come in the second and third round, later rounds year to year. You're not going to hit on every pick every year obviously, you're not going to hit on your first pick every year as much work as we do on it. It's imperative, that speeds the process up. You look at our team with Tyler Bertuzzi, a second-round pick, Filip Hronek, a second-round pick, guys that are really having an impact. We'll definitely need those guys to turn into players and that's why having more picks increases the odds of more of them becoming players."

For the next several weeks, will profile some of the players, one North American and one international each week, who are likely to be available.

Like most teams, the Wings are always in need of centers in the organization.

Although projected as a mid to late-first-rounder who will likely not be around at the top of the second round, it's worth taking a look at Shawinigan Cataractes center Mavrik Bourque.

Bourque is 5-foot-10, 178 pounds and had 29 goals and 42 assists in 49 games.

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NHL Central Scouting placed Bourque 22nd among North American skaters in its final rankings, which were released April 8.

Red Line Report had Bourque at 14th overall, saying, "One of the season's biggest risers is a wonderfully creative playmaker with hockey sense that is off the charts. Agile, athletic skater has really improved his first step acceleration. Pinpoint passer sees the whole ice beautifully and uses everyone around him -- makes his wingers better. Works extremely smart passing plays on the rush trying to create seams to the net. Fast hands and reflexes often allow him to steal pucks and gain clean face-off wins. Not big, but battles off checks to get free. Cycles quickly and instinctively around the offensive zone. Takes the puck straight to net. Plays a north-south game with lots of hard stop/starts -- there's no rounding corners in his game. Needs very little time or space to fire rocket wristers. Shows terrific leadership qualities and had really come into his own the last six weeks prior to the season ending -- development curve was headed straight upward."

Dobber Hockey also had Bourque projected to go higher in the draft than some others:

"The former third-overall selection in the QMJHL has been tracking toward an early first-round selection for some time now. A near point-per-game rookie season morphed into a dominant draft-eligible campaign. He nearly doubled his shot rates on a per-game basis. His 71 points in 49 games were top-20 in the league. But his 1.45 points-per-game sat ninth -- second only to Alexis Lafreniere for draft-eligible players in the Q. Bourque is an extremely smart and efficient play-driver. He can distribute through multiple folds in the defense. He has a clean release but tends to lean on the side of dishing the puck."

Craig Button, TSN's director of scouting, had Bourque ranked 20th while TSN's Bob McKenzie ranked him 26th.

The Athletic's Scott Wheeler placed Bourque 15th on his final list.

"If you've followed my work this season, you'll know that Bourque has been one of my favorites in this draft," Wheeler said. "And though, I know some other evaluators who've grown quite fond of his game, this ranking is still probably in the minority (I'd expect him to be available into the late teens or maybe even the 20s). Bourque's one of those players who just plays fast. He's quick from a standstill. He's agile in high traffic. He's can play the puck into space and get to it. He reads and reacts before defenders do. And he can hang onto the puck to make a play but he can also cut past them and throw a pass back against the grain in a flash. He has consistently made high-end plays without high-end players around him. And his production is in line with many of the CHL players who will likely be selected in front of him. He's not particularly explosive for his size and that may limit his NHL upside, but you don't have to be the fastest player on the ice to play like you're the fastest player on the ice."

Wheeler's fellow Athletic colleague, Corey Pronman, ranked Bourque 18th.

"Bourque was a top scorer in the QMJHL this season, as Shawinigan's clear leading player," Pronman said. "He's a player who gets a lot of praise for his skill and especially his hockey sense. Bourque is an elite passer. He has tremendous patience and anticipation to let plays develop, hold the puck for an extra second and find his teammates. He makes difficult plays that most other players don't see. While his passing is his clear best strength, he also has a great shot and can score from tough positions on the ice. His hands are high-end, but he has a pass-first mentality with the puck. I find instead of making a skilled move and making a hard play to the net, he likes to slow it down and look for his passing options -- something that will need to improve at the quicker paces. Bourque isn't that big, but I like his compete level and that he can penalty kill. His skating is fine, but not great. He has enough quickness to get around and is agile in tight areas, but he lacks the ability to create true separation at the NHL level."

Daniel Torgersson is a winger who played for Frölunda Jr this past season in Sweden's SuperElit.

The 6-foot-3, 199-pound forward had 26 goals and 18 assists in 39 games.

Dobber Hockey projected him to go late in the second round or early in the first, saying, "Torgersson is a modern power forward who is big, competes and skates really well, plays a good two-way game, and can put up some points, especially finishing plays in front of the net. He has a good shot and good skills but he's not a high-end offensive talent. It's easy to project him to the NHL but his offensive upside is not high. If you only look at his size, skating and numbers, he may look like a first-round pick. But he benefitted a lot from being big and physically mature and getting to play with talented players on a great Frölunda J20 team. He is expected to play mostly at the men's level next season."

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Among international skaters, NHL Central Scouting ranked Torgersson 13th.

There was a bit of a difference between TSN's experts, with Button placing Torgersson 27th and McKenzie ranking him 53rd.

The Athletic's Wheeler ranked Torgersson 77th while Pronman had him at 84.

"Torgersson had a great season at the junior level and was a top player for Sweden's U18 team," Pronman said. "He is great around the net at knocking in second chances and deflecting passes toward the goal. I'm skeptical that he's a power-play type at the higher levels, but if he is it will be as a net-front player. He did play half-wall for Frölunda's power play at the junior level, showing flashes of top-end vision, but I'm not convinced that's his game. He has some skill and can make plays, and showed this season he can score at a significant level. Torgersson's skating is OK. The stride breaks down a bit more than I'd like, but I've seen him pull away from enough checks to think it can be pro-average. His ability to score, play in the tough areas and PK gives him versatility that will endear him to coaches."

The Red Line Report placed Torgersson a bit lower on its final draft list, at 105: "Big horse is a hard skating winger with great net drive, and his deep offensive forays force penalties. Much improved skater has added both straight-line speed and lateral agility to his stride. Skates with power and balance and is impossible to move off the puck on the cycle or when driving the net. Average hands and creativity. Goes hard into corners and is beastly down low using great size and reach to shield the puck. Picks up most of his goals off rebounds by outmuscling defenders for loose pucks around the crease. Always gives great effort, but lack of finesse and smarts often makes him predictable. Sometimes skates too hard, taking himself out of position, instead of stopping and playing the puck or body instead. Finishes all his checks. True power forward and there's lots to like: size, strength and effort is all there."

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