Leading up to the lockout-shortened season, we will be providing 2012-13 previews for each player. In no specific order, we continue with Gabriel Bourque today…
Gabriel Bourque was recalled from Milwaukee to Nashville in late December of last season after tallying 16 points in 25 AHL games. Due to his speed and tenacity, Bourque immediately became one of Barry Trotz’s favorite players.
Bourque heated up offensively in his final 20 games, recording 13 points. That hot streak carried over into the playoffs as he scored three goals in the Detroit series. He struggled in the second round against Phoenix, though, with one assist and a minus-5 rating in five games.
In September, Bourque signed a two-year, $1.5 million extension with the Predators.
Bourque spent the lockout in Milwaukee and has been banged up all year. A lower-body injury, suffered on Dec. 15, will keep him from starting the season in Nashville, but the injury may not be as serious as once thought. He has 12 points in 13 games for the Admirals.
The sooner Bourque can return to the lineup, the better the Predators will be. The 22-year-old was a valuable piece to the puzzle last season and he will only improve. If the current training camp lines stay the same, I’d expect Bourque to be slotted on the third or fourth line and maybe work up to the second line as the season goes on.