When someone says the name Bourque, the first player many people think of is Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque. His two sons, Ryan and Chris, have followed in their father’s footsteps and become pros themselves.
While neither has had an impact at the NHL level, both have made an impact at the AHL level. Chris, drafted by the Capitals with the 33rd overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, never panned out at the NHL level, bouncing around three different organizations (Washington, Pittsburgh, Boston).
While he failed to become a regular in the NHL, the 29-year old Chris Bourque has achieved tremendous success at the AHL level, recording 517 career 178 goals, 338 assists) points in 527 AHL games. In his first stint with the Hershey Bears, Bourque tallied 111 goals and 262 assists, for 373 points. Last year, playing for Hartford alongside his brother Ryan, he registered 68 points (29 goals, 39 assists). In just 51 NHL games, Bourque has just two goals and eight points. So why hasn’t he been able to repeat these stats in the NHL? Some players simply can’t keep up with the fast-paced game of the NHL. Whatever Bourque’s case was, he has thrived in the AHL. He’s been selected to the AHL All-Star Game three times (2009, 2012, 2015), and has won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the MVP of the AHL playoffs (Conn Smythe in the NHL), the John B. Sollenger Trophy for leading the league in scoring (Art Ross in NHL), and has won the Calder Cup three times, all with Hershey.
Bourque signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Capitals this past summer, and so far, has continued to dominate: coming into the Bears game tonight (in which he already has an assist on a Connor Carrick goal) he currently leads the Bears with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists), putting him on pace for 26 goals, 36 goals, and 62 points. Though he likely won’t become an NHL regular, Bourque has built a career worthy of being elected into the AHL Hall of Fame.
By Michael Fleetwood