Photo Credit: Rena Laverty
Thomas Bordeleau is a dual citizen as he holds American and Canadian citizenship. His father Sébastien Bordeleau played in the NHL with the Montréal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild and the Phoenix Coyotes (now Arizona Coyotes). During Sébastien’s 16 game stint with the AHL’s Houston Aeros (2001-02 season), Thomas was born. After bouncing around from the NHL to the AHL in 2001-02, the Bordeleau family packed their bags and headed to Bern, Switzerland as Sébastien would play for the NLA’s SC Bern from 2002 to 2009. During their time in Bern, Thomas played youth hockey in the SC Bern system.
Between 2014 and 2018, Bordeleau played bantam and midget hockey in Quebec. After a strong 2017-2018 midget campaign, he was selected in the 2018 QMJHL Entry Draft by the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, but opted to play for the USNTDP (US National Team Development Program) and he committed to play at the University of Michigan.
In his 2019-2020 campaign with the USNTDP, Bordeleau mustered up 16 goals and 30 assists. He led the USNTDP U18 team in total points and tied for second in total goals with Brett Berard. Matthew Beniers (2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect and University of Michigan teammate) had the highest goal total with 18 goals.
This season, as mentioned prior, Bordeleau will be playing for the University of Michigan. The Michigan squad is loaded with talent including Erik Portillo (Buffalo Sabres prospect), Owen Power (2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect), Cameron York (Philadelphia Flyers prospect), John Beecher (Boston Bruins prospect), Brendan Brisson (2020 NHL Draft eligible prospect), Jacob Truscott (2020 NHL Draft eligible prospect), Beniers and Kent Johnson (2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect). The Michigan lineup makes them a favorite to win the Big Ten, but as we saw with the University of Wisconsin last year who had a loaded lineup, it is tougher climb than it looks. Yet, Bordeleau will get a ton of playing time in a great collegiate program and it will do wonders for his development.
D.O.B – January 3, 2002
Nationality – USA/Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Weight –179 lbs
Position – Center
Handedness – Left
Bordeleau’s Style Of Play
Thomas Bordeleau is a reliable playmaking asset in the offensive zone. Throughout the 2019-2020 campaign with USNTDP, he proved to be a potent offensive producer. While there are areas that need to be addressed such as his foot speed when cruising to the forecheck and puck possession challenges, there is plenty to like about Bordeleau’s offensive game. His ability to work the cycle and utilize his outside edge to evade traffic along the perimeter and then drive to the net is extremely valuable. In the clip below, you can take a look at Bordeleau evading his attacker and driving to the net.
In addition, Bordeleau’s passing is on point when in the offensive zone. Per Scouching.ca, Bordeleau owns a dangerous passing per 60 of 22.68. Aside from Windsor Spitfires forward, Jean-Luc Foudy (2020 NHL Draft eligible prospect), Bordeleau has the second highest dangerous passing per 60 of the prospects that Scouching.ca has tracked. In the offensive zone, Bordeleau can deliver a mixed bag of passes. Bordeleau can place the perfect drop pass, complete a cross ice pass in the slot from along the half wall and deliver a tape-to-tape feed from the red line to the point. In addition, he loves to complete lateral passes between the perimeter and the blue line. While a lateral pass while on the rush doesn’t seem like much of a challenge or anything to write home about, you have to sell that you are rushing towards the net and not about to complete a pass. In the below clip, you will see Bordeleau complete a lateral pass to his winger. Not only is it a quality feed off the rush, but Bordeleau sees that there are two attackers in front of him. If he completes a lateral pass to the right, he will likely divert the attention from one of the attackers and open up a bit more space. So, the initial lateral pass could lead to a pass right back to him.
While the perfect lateral pass is good attribute to have, you can not knock how clutch the perfectly timed cross ice pass can be. Even though Bordeleau’s cross ice passing is not his bread and butter as his passing is very diverse, he can thread the needle extremely well. If you had to compare the perfect cross ice pass to something, picture your favorite quarterback finding a wide open target running horizontally 30/40 yards in front of you and your quarterback slings the perfect spiral to that wide receiver. But, the quarterback picks the exact spot and knows precisely when to the fire his pass. Same situation with the perfect cross ice pass in hockey. It’s all about timing. Bordeleau has to pin-point the exact moment that his desired target will make it to the slot and that becomes a challenge when there is an attacker skating right next to the target. In the clip below, you will see Bordeleau fire a perfect cross ice pass to his teammate and fellow 2020 NHL Draft eligible prospect Eamon Powell.
Oddly enough, while Bordeleau is a skilled passer in high danger situations, his passing completion percentage is quite low (46.27%). From a passing completion percentage perspective, you might question why I perceive Bordeleau as an effective passer in the offensive zone, but he seems to be weaker when completing passes outside of the offensive zone rather than in the offensive zone. When he attempts passes outside of the offensive zone and misses the mark, it appears that Bordeleau is a bit indecisive and does not take the time to identify the best method of getting the puck up the ice. Instead, he will attempt passes such as the one below, in which he fired a shaky cross ice saucer pass in the neutral zone and missed his target. Not only did he miss his target, but the teammate who he chose to pass to was being double covered.
From a shooting perspective, Bordeleau has thrived from the left side, which makes a lot of sense given that he is left-handed. In the shot map below, you can see all of Bordeleau’s goals from the 2019-2020 season. Bordeleau only capitalized once from the right side (if you exclude his goal at the doorstep). But, while he favors the left side of the ice, he has decent range on his shot. He lit up the lamp six times from the mid-slot to the perimeter.
While it might seem like Bordeleau is not diverse with his shooting, that is simply not the case. In his tool belt, he can deliver snap shots, slap shots, wrist shots and even toe drag shots. One of my favorite goals from this past season is a wrist shot goal from the perimeter in a heavy traffic situation. In the clip below, you can check out the goal. His opponents, the Madison Capitols are running a diamond-like defensive formation and limiting the USNTDP to playing the puck in a tight box. With a man on him, Bordeleau still manages to deliver a wrist shot from the edge of the perimeter and goes top shelf.
Another one of Bordeleau’s highlight-reel goals from the 2019-2020 campaign was a toe drag goal. For anyone to complete a toe drag goal, your inside edge needs to be deployed properly and the edge needs to slide quickly while your other skate stays well-balanced and up-right. In the clip below, you can see Bordeleau’s edges are fine form as he sneaks by the defender and delivers a quality snap shot.
Bordeleau is not the fastest skater on the ice, but his crossovers help spark his acceleration. It typically takes Bordeleau roughly two seconds to get from blue line to blue line, which is slower than quite a few 2020 NHL Draft prospects. Using Scouching’s data, his blue line to blue line speed is comparable to Tyson Foerster of Barrie and Connor Zary of Kamloops. The driver behind his slower speed is the length of his extension. In the clip below, you will see Bordeleau alter the length of his extension at center ice and his speed begins to slow down.
Since speed can be an issue for Bordeleau, his ability to complete a forecheck can be a challenge. There are plenty of shifts where he attempts to forecheck, but is too late to the forecheck. In the below clip, you can check out a forecheck attempt against Providence College. Due to the lack of speed, Bordeleau’s forecheck attempt does not provide the pressure that he was looking for and thus is unsuccessful. Yet, his speed issues on the forecheck should not be a deterrent in whether or not to draft him on draft night. Speed can be improved upon.
One of the other issues that needs to be ironed out is Bordeleau’s puck possession. Puck security is key to an offensive rush. Unfortunately, there are instances where Bordeleau struggles to hang onto the puck and is prone to coughing up possession. What is odd about Bordeleau’s puck possession issues is that he does not seem to have many issues in tight pressure. Instead, when there is a lot of wiggle room that is where he tends to cough up the puck more often. The below clip shows Bordeleau completing a zone entry, but once he crosses the blue line, he looses possession without much pressure from the University of Minnesota defender.
The defensive zone is an area that needs some improvement as well. But, this can also be attributed to his speed and mobility. In the defensive zone, he will deploy a wide glide from time to time, which is a similar issue that Jérémie Poirier has. With a wide glide, you limit your mobility and it becomes a challenge to apply pressure. In the clip below, you will see Bordeleau mimic his opponent as his opponent uses a wide glide. If you mimic your attacker and you are behind him, you are still slower than the attacker. There is not a speed advantage. When you are slower and further from the puck, there is only so much you can do when it comes to implementing pressure. In the clip below, you will see Bordeleau struggle with a wide glide and reduced speed against an attacker. While he manages to get his stick on the attacker, he does not reach the puck with his stick because of how far behind he is.
As I mentioned before, I’m not concerned about Bordeleau’s speed. With some power skating instruction, he speed will improve and you will notice a big change with his defensive play and his forechecking.
Plus, he’s proven to be rather effective in the offensive zone with great playmaking attributes. So, I would not let speed deter you from taking him in the draft. There are other appealing tools in the tool kit and speed will come.
Tyler Johnson, Center, Tampa Bay Lightning
Given Tyler Johnson’s frame and playing style, he seems like the best comparable for Bordeleau. Johnson is slightly shorter than Bordeleau, but both forwards are outstanding playmakers in the offensive zone and are multi-dimensional with their playmaking attributes.
stats from Scouching.ca and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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