The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they have signed undrafted free agent Alex Barre-Boulet from the QMJHL. The contract is a three-year entry-level contract. Barre-Boulet is currently playing for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada as an overager.
Over four seasons in the QMJHL, Barre-Boulet has scored 136 goals and 325 points in 255 games played. In his rookie season, he scored 23 goals and 51 points in 68 games played for the Drummondville Voltigeurs, but went undrafted. He followed it up with an 89 point and 81 point campaign, but still did not draw any interest from NHL teams in the draft or as a free agent. This year as an overager, Barre-Boulet has scored 49 goals and 104 points in 57 games.
When you see an overager have a big season in one of the CHL leagues, it’s usually thought that it’s because he is bigger, faster, and more experienced than most of the other players he’s playing with. This was certainly the case of former Lightning draft pick Boko Imama who had a big jump in goals in his overage season (and has just 1 point in the AHL this season).
But with Barre-Boulet, he is a smaller forward, clocking in at just 5’10” and 165 pounds. According to Prospects-Stats.com, he has the second highest estimated Primary Points per 60 in the QMJHL. At even strength, he ranks 4th in Primary Points per Game Played and 9th in Primary Assists per Game Played.
Despite his offensive production, he still has questions in his game. With this entry-level contract, he’ll have the opportunity to work with professional development coaches to shore up his game, as well as a strength and conditioning staff that can help him add some muscle to his frame.
Barré-Boulet is undersized forward with good hockey sense and vision. He has made good progress with his defensive game, and can be a threat to score on the PK. He’s quick and shifty on the ice and always works hard, with or without the puck. He has quick hands and is dangerous one-on-one. He does lack that top high-end speed that you want from smaller players, and that has likely contributed to his not getting drafted to the NHL in the past two years. It’s likely to happen once again this season, but there is no doubt that he could surprise some folks at the pro level. He has worked hard to improve his skating and his defensive game in the last couple of years.
A few things in the scouting report stand out as traits that Yzerman and Murray value: hockey sense and vision. He works hard. It’s hard for players to perform at the professional level without hockey sense. And with a good work ethic, many short comings physically can be improved.
Barre-Boulet will finish out the season with the Armada who are first in their division. If for some reason they fall short in the early rounds of the playoffs, Barre-Boulet could join the Syracuse Crunch to practice before the season ends. Otherwise, we likely won’t see him until development camp after the NHL Entry Draft. He’s a possibility to make the Syracuse Crunch roster next season to provide some scoring depth, but it’s also possible that he’ll start his professional career in the ECHL.