Getting more out of the Blackhawks’ Adam Boqvist
If you’re a Chicago sports fan, then you’ve probably heard the good news about the NHL’s qualifying round.
The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Edmonton Oilers, and will now play a best-of-seven series against the Las Vegas Golden Knights. There were a lot of lessons to learn from the series against Edmonton, and Chicago will need to adapt quickly to Vegas.
Numerous people, such as The Athletic’s Scott Powers, have started writing about Chicago players who did and did not contribute meaningfully against Edmonton, and why that matters against Vegas.
We all know Dominik Kubalik was vital, and Jonathan Toews was the captain the team needed. By contrast, Adam Boqvist was named in the “did not contribute” category.
This both fair, and unfair.
As Powers notes, Boqvist only needs to play defense reliably. There’s nothing else that’s asked of him. He cost the team a goal with a rookie mistake by leaving Connor McDavid wide open when he didn’t cover for his partner Duncan Keith.
Aside from that, he’s been ok, but I agree with Powers, the team needs more from him. I just don’t think his contributions need to be purely defensive.
Chicago didn’t draft Boqvist because he was a defensive mastermind. He was taken 8th overall because as a defenseman he brings a ton of offense.
The problem is that he rarely participates in the offensive zone, or on the rush. This needs to change and is probably the result of the coaches asking to play a more conservative game until he finds his way in the NHL. (Remember, he’s only 19.)
There’s nothing wrong with him showing some restraint, but if Chicago is going to have a chance against the Golden Knights, then the team needs to play to its strengths. Boqvist should be activated offensively more often.
This might mean deploying him a little differently and making sure his defensive partner is aware that Boqvist is going to help the team press forward offensively more frequently.
His ability to generate offense is why they drafted him, and it’s high time they took the training wheels off and let him do his thing.
Keith probably understands, but maybe the coaches could shake things up a little more.
Maybe they can send him out with Calvin de Haan, and have him jump up with the second line of Kane, Dach, and DeBrincat. Since de Haan plays a more defensive game then he could probably cover if Boqvist joins a rush, or two.
If Boqvist can produce points, then Chicago is gladly going to accept them. Chicago’s success in this next series might depend a little on him being more productive.