Prospect of Interest: Zachary Bolduc brings the 'whole package'

Zachary Bolduc of Rimouski Oceanic. (Ghyslain Bergeron/CP)

Terms like "silky smooth mitts" and "magic hands" are never far away when talking about NHL prospect Zachary Bolduc. His ability to generate offence every time he's on the ice is what really jumps out about his game, and his sharp shot and excellent accuracy will serve him well in the NHL.

Here's what you need to know about Bolduc.

Age: 18 (Feb. 24, 2003)
Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Current team: Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)
Hometown: Trois-Rivières, Que.
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 174 pounds

He 'brings the whole package'

During a recent episode of the NHL Draft Class podcast, Jean-François Damphousse of NHL Central Scouting had this to say of Bolduc, who is ranked 17th among North American skaters:

"I think he brings the whole package. He does have a great shot and he's got that scoring ability. He does have the playmaking as well. I like his compete level, I like the way he can play the physical game as well. He's good down low, he's tough to handle. Really good at protecting the puck under pressure, certainly elements that would translate well to the pro game. He's a pro skater, his skating stride is excellent, he's got real good mechanics. There's lots of pro elements in his game."

He was named QMJHL rookie of the year in 2019-20

As a rookie in 2019-20, Bolduc wasted no time making his mark on the QMJHL. The forward led all rookies in goals (30) and sat second among first-year players in points (52) through 55 games, and was awarded rookie-of-the-year honours for his efforts. He was also named to the QMJHL all-rookie team and won the Michel Bergeron Trophy as the league's offensive rookie of the year.

Bolduc credits his teammates for last year's rookie success, and had the opportunity during that time to learn from then-top prospect Alexis Lafreniere.

"Some of the things that I learned with Alexis last year was his professionalism and his work ethic on and off the ice," Bolduc said during a CHL spotlight earlier this year.

While 2020-21 didn't see him match those first-year highs, Bolduc registered 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points, holding a point-per-game pace through 27 games. His solid draft-year performance saw him add another award to his trophy cabinet. He was awarded the 2020-21 Mike Bossy Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best professional prospect in the QMJHL.

He tries to model his game after Kuznetsov

"The NHL player that I try to model my game after is Evgeni Kuznetsov from the Washington Capitals," Bolduc said during his CHL player spotlight. "The reason why I try to model my game after him is because he can play at centre or on the wing. He can skate pretty well, too, and he has a pretty good shot."

His draft season was cut short due to injury

We ultimately didn't get to see Bolduc build on his strong rookie campaign, as his draft season was interrupted by injuries -- including a season-ender in March that ruled him out for six to eight weeks. Because of this, it's likely he'll need some more time to develop in the juniors ranks before we see him make the jump to the pros.

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