© 2024 ALLCITY Network Inc.
All rights reserved.
With the Avalanche firmly into their off-season, it’s a golden opportunity to take a look at the organization and see what the future holds for a team that appears on the cusp of consistent playoff contention. To kick that off, we’re going to be running the Top 25 Avalanche Under 25 series for the next several weeks. The BSN Avalanche writers got together, looked at the 39 players in the Avalanche organization under 25 years old and compiled a list of the top 25 players. There were no rules on how to view players as all 6 writers have a different perception of value and contract status was largely ignored.
Today we start off that list by taking a look at the player who came in 25th, forward Troy Bourke. Bourke actually averaged 21st with a high of 20 and low of 22 but because he only appeared on 3 of 6 ballots he was moved to last of the players who would be appearing on the list.
Who is Troy Bourke?
Bourke’s final days in juniors saw him achieve the kind of prolific offensive success the Avalanche saw in him when they drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2012 NHL Draft. Upon jumping to pro hockey with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, Bourke immediately showed offensive flair when he scored 7 points in just 15 games. This past season was his first full pro season and while his numbers are modest, Bourke’s production is actually impressive given the limited role he saw on the team.
One of many players who was used curiously under the tutelage of Lake Erie Head Coach Dean Chynoweth, Bourke saw limited playing time on the lower lines despite consistently proving himself to be a valuable player on offense. Limited by his size, Bourke’s game relies on his creativity and vision with the puck as he reads the game well and finds himself creating space for not only himself but his linemates. He has a good shot but is reluctant to use it as he recorded only 57 shots on goal in 61 games played. His passing is where he’s going to make his mark and he’s a good player on the offensive end. Despite his small stature, he plays a solid, physical game and was known to drop the gloves from time to time in juniors.
What is the future for Troy Bourke?
This is the big question facing Bourke and the Avalanche. He has shown some offensive pop and an edge to his game defensively and with a handful of graduations to the Avalanche expected for next season, Bourke’s role with the team should expand and he should see himself facing minutes that are more appropriate for maximizing his talents. It’s going to be an important year because if Bourke can turn in a 40-50 point season for the San Antonio Rampage (Colorado’s new AHL affiliate starting next season), he puts himself on the radar for a potential call-up to the Avalanche when injuries inevitably strike.
With 2 seasons remaining on his entry-level contract, Bourke doesn’t necessarily need to have a big season but lack of significant improvement would be a big red flag as to his viability as a NHL prospect moving forward. The uncertainty of his legitimacy as a prospect is the biggest reason “Cowboy Troy” is as low on this list as he is. Should he experience the leap in role and production that many expect of him next season, Bourke will likely move into the teens on this list next season.
As of right now, though, Bourke stands as an unfortunate example of former Head Scout Rick Pracey’s drafting strategy in the middle rounds where he consistently targeted smaller North American players who he hoped would become late bloomers.