Chicago Blackhawks’ Development Camp wrapped up on Friday, July 19th, and some big names have impressed the fan base.
The two key names that come to mind when you think about Chicago Blackhawks’ prospects are, of course, Adam Boqvist and Kirby Dach.
What is interesting about the two are their amazing size and what they can do when they have the puck on their sticks. Both players are projected to fill key roles in the next generation of the Chicago Blackhawks and their success, so how well do we know both of these players?
Adam Boqvist has spent a season in the OHL with the London Knights since he was drafted at age 17 by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2018 NHL Draft (8th overall).
Boqvist, 18, lit up the OHL by scoring a total of 60 points in 54 games (20G, 40A). Former Blackhawks’ defenseman, Brian Campbell, has taken Boqvist under his wing and has taught him how to watch film and showed him what he needs to do to improve his game for the NHL level.
This year, Boqvist also played for his home country, Sweden, in the U20 IIHF World Junior Championship. Boqvist only played in 5 games, but managed to be almost a point-per-game player with a total of 4 points (1G, 3A) in the tournament.
On paper with Adam Boqvist, you are getting a defenseman that can put the puck in the net and set up plays for his forwards. Boqvist is a tough guy to knock off the puck, and also, very tough to deal with at the blue line for opposing players. Boqvist is the future of the Blackhawks’ blue line and it doesn’t hurt that he also is a point-per-game player thus far.
Kirby Dach, 18, played 3 seasons in the WHL playing for the Saskatoon Blades. Dach began his WHL career in 2016, where he only played in 12 games and racked up 10 points (6G, 4A). The next two seasons, he played 114 games and finished with a total of 119 points (32G, 87A).
With Kirby Dach, you’re getting more of a playmaking, two-way forward. Dach’s size should allow for him to be a force on defense, strong at the faceoff dot, strong in front of the net to deflect shots and screen the goalie, etc. There’s a lot to like about his skill level. Dach might just have that X-Factor Blackhawks’ GM, Stan Bowman, was talking about.
The fan base was shocked to hear his named called at number 3 instead of Los Angeles Kings’ center, Alex Turcotte, or Colorado Avalanche defenseman, Bowen Byram, but all 3 players are going to be standouts for their teams and you can’t go wrong with either of those picks.
Byram would have been the perfect pick for the Blackhawks until they made a ton of moves to strengthen up their blue line. Now, Dach fits in nicely and bolsters an already strong forward group.
Adam Boqvist looks ready to start playing for the Chicago Blackhawks. Brian Campbell has helped him improve a lot and Boqvist wants to make the jump. If Boqvist makes the jump, he will most likely be playing on the 3rd defensive pairing.
As Brent Seabrook is starting to transition into that 7th defenseman role, it opens up space for Boqvist. All of this just makes you wonder if it is worth playing him over Seabrook, who is being paid $6,875,000 AAV through 2023-24. Boqvist may very well take minutes away from Seabrook as soon as this season, which I’m sure most fans would be on board with.
Kirby Dach — I’m not sure yet. The Blackhawks will most likely invite him to training camp and if he impresses as he did against the prospects, he should be playing on the 3rd line this season. Dach impressed a lot and showed he is the Blackhawks’ top prospect coming out of the 2019 development camp, but he was also just playing against other prospects and not NHL players.
Only time will tell if he is truly ready. Remember, Blackhawks’ fans, Jonathan Toews took a year to finish playing college hockey at North Dakota before he made the jump to the Chicago Blackhawks. Sometimes, waiting is the best thing to do, but it’s also the hardest part.