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Photo Credit: L'Express

CANUCKSARMY’S 2018 NHL DRAFT PROFILES: #95 Xavier Bernard

We head to the QMJHL for our first defenceman of the 2018 consolidated rankings with Drummondville Voltigeurs defenceman Xavier Bernard landing in the 95th spot.

Bernard is the prototypical two-way defenceman who can defend, move the puck well and chip in offensively when needed. He skates well, already has NHL size and plays in all three zones.

He may lack a high upside at the NHL level but you could do a lot worse than Xavier Bernard in the early fourth round.

Bio

  • Age/Birthdate: 17.69/ January 6, 2000
  • Birthplace:Lery, QC, CAN
  • Frame:6-foot-2/ 176 lbs
  • Position:D
  • Handedness:L
  • Draft Year Team: Drummondville Voltigeurs(QMJHL)
  • Accomplishments/Awards:

Stats

Career

2017-18 Season

GP G A P SEAL INV% 5v5 Pr INV% 5v5 eP160 Sh/Gp Sh% GF% GF%rel GD60rel XLS% XPR xVAL
66 11 24 35 0.56 12.8% 7.4% 0.73 1.70 10% 62.6% 4.9% 0.59 18% 25.40927107 1.806939335

Bernard had some things going for him throughout the first 2/3 of the season, saw an offensive outburst and then huge struggles in his own zone to close out the campaign.

Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)

Team Relative

Cohort Based

Given where Bernard is projected to go and that the QMJHL generally sees a lower success rate – the 18.1% of cohorts going onto becoming NHL regulars is an encouraging sign for a defender of his stature.

Furthermore, seeing a nice increase in success rate from his draft minus one to draft season shows that he was afforded a larger role this season and did well with the added responsibility.

Our Take

Bernard is not someone that will wow you in any way – he is just dependable in all three zones with no elite skills. He is smart on his reads and timing of engagements and is poised in the defensive zone, never looking to be out of place or out of position.

There have been some suggestions that he needs to be more aggressive in the defensive zone but that would take away from what he does well which is read and adjust to play. Using his stick to disrupt lanes or clogging up the open space.

He possesses a good first pass, a heavy shot and good at getting those shots through to the net.  There is a lack of creativity in all facets of his game, which isn’t a bad thing per say but likely limits his overall ceiling as a prospect. He skates well for his size with strong strides but lacking explosive acceleration.

His success rate with pGPS is encouraging due to the size of the cohort group and decent expected production. As mentioned above, we generally see lower rates for QMJHL defenders due to the previous track record of their cohorts.

Through my viewings of the defender, I never walked away thinking that he would be an impact player at the NHL level but does have a chance to carve out a career as a bottom pairing defender, in the same vein as someone like Guillaume Brisebois within the Canucks organization.

His SEAL, GF%, GFREL% and pGPS show signs that Bernard will be a good value bet in the fourth or fifth round and that is completely justifiable at that point. Extracting a bottom pairing defender here in the draft could be considered a minor win and something that ultimately will get Bernard selected. More than likely Bernard will go earlier in the draft than the early fourth round that we have him slotted as teams will value his dependable play, size, and well-rounded skill set.

Further Reading

Consolidated Average Future Considerations Hockey Prospect.com ISS Hockey McKeen’s The Athletic TSN Bob McKenzie TSN Craig Button The Hockey News Sportsnet ESPN Dobber Prospects
92 84.2 83 $$ 79 87 105

 

From Bill Placzek, The DraftSite:

Tall thiun left side defender who plays a bit bigger than he is. Is solid in his own end and is very good in all phases of the defensive zone. Passes the puck well and has good hands under pressure. He plays with some edge and tries to let the opposition know he is out there. Untapped offensive potential due to his hockey IQ hands and stick. Scored 11 goals and 35 points in the open QMJHL, so that leads me to think there is upside as an attacker too.

CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings

#96 Kristian Tanus #97 Lukas Wernblom
#98 Nando Eggenberger #99 Matthew Struthers #100 Shawn Bourdias