Adam Boqvist – London Knights (OHL)
With the way he played during training camp, I honestly thought Adam Boqvist was going to make the Blackhawks’ opening night roster. But as I noted earlier, the logjam on defense didn’t give provide an opportunity for him to come in and show what he has at the NHL level for a few games. Corey Pronman ranked him 25th as a “high-end prospect.”
The 8th overall pick of the 2018 draft missed some games battling an injury in London, but he’s second among defensemen on the team in scoring (10 G, 18 A, 28 P in 27 games). Boqvist has really turned heads as of late with eight goals in his last 11 games. At the World Junior Championship, he recorded four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in five games, tied for the lead amongst Swedish defensemen.
Offensively, he’s fantastic. One thing that stood out to me in training camp was his creativeness with the puck. Like Pronman noted in his prospect rankings, Boqvist has “top level, if not elite, vision” on the ice. It’s really not much of a surprise that he’s a strong offensive defenseman, which is something the Blackhawks desperately need.
The biggest knock on Boqvist is his physicality. With today’s game being as fast as it is, I’m not sure it’s a huge deal that he doesn’t throw a ton of hits and get in the way of the path of a shot. He could also be a little better in his own end, but he’s gradually getting better at working along the boards to dissolve opportunities for opposing teams.
As he continues to mature, his excellent hockey IQ will allow him to learn how to read plays further in advance. Boqvist’s offensive instincts drive him to constantly hunt for the puck in his own zone, force turnovers, and find the space to create a rush up the ice. He already does this in the neutral zone and I wouldn’t be surprised if this trend continued when he’s defending.
To me, Boqvist is the best defensive prospect the Chicago Blackhawks have, even above Jokiharju. While he surprised us in camp this year, don’t be that surprised if he competes for a spot on the roster next season and even makes it on the team.