Chicago Blackhawks: Is Adam Boqvist a Catalyst or Coincidence?

The turnaround of Chicago’s 2019-20 season coincided with the debut of explosive prospect Adam Boqvist.

While Adam Boqvist hasn’t lit up the score sheet early in his NHL career, recording only six points in 26 games, the potential is certainly there. The Chicago Blackhawks have been much better with him in the lineup, than without him.

Life without Boqvist

The Blackhawks have played 51 games thus far, of which Boqvist has appeared in 26. The most recent game threw off the symmetry of this case study, but that’s alright. Without Boqvist, Chicago is 9-11-5. On average, that would give the Blackhawks 75.44 points in 82 games. It seems like Boqvist could be a big factor in the Blackhawks’ playoff hopes.

Life with Boqvist

With Boqvist in the lineup, the Blackhawks have a record of 15-10-1. In an 82-game slate, that comes out to 97.77 points. Such a result should be good enough to ensure the team sees postseason play. For reference, as of now, the Wild Card positions in the Western Conference are tracking for about 89-90 points.

On Dec. 23, 2019, as Adam squared off with older brother Jesper Boqvist, Adam suffered an injury in the first period and saw only 2:42 of ice time (four shifts). He never had a chance to impact the game, though it may not have mattered as New Jersey emerged victorious at a 7-1 rout.

If you take out that result from the prorate standings scores, the numbers get even better, as Chicago projects at a clip of 101.68 points.

Coincidence?

As mentioned earlier, Boqvist’s offensive stats aren’t overly impressive. Furthermore, he has the worst plus/minus ratio on the team (minus-nine) and his analytics aren’t great either.

He has an even-strength “Corsi For Percentage” of 47, which is seventh-worst on the team and lowest among all defensemen apart from Dennis Gilbert (42.6).

With all of that in mind, it’s hard to pinpoint why the Blackhawks have been better with Boqvist in the lineup. Perhaps it’s merely a coincidence; Chicago’s uptick could be related to better play from other rookies such as Dominik Kubalik and Kirby Dach, the return of Brandon Saad and Drake Caggiula from injury or the resurgent play from Jonathan Toews.

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On the other hand, he is already setting records, becoming the third-youngest defenseman in franchise history to score a goal.

So is Boqvist the catalyst of this team or is it merely a coincidence? At the end of the day, perhaps it doesn’t matter; it’s just nice to see the Blackhawks playing competitive hockey.