Boqvist hails from Sweden, a country that has produced speedy defensemen like, say, Erik Karlsson. And that name has been tossed around in NHL comparisons for Boqvist, who possesses several traits that will make him a threat at the offensive end of the rink.
The Hawks decided to past on defenseman Noah Dobson and Evan Bouchard and winger Oliver Wahlstrom for Boqvist.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Boqvist who won’t even be 18 years old until Aug. 15, so there’s plenty of time for him to add to his relatively light frame. He tallied 14 goals and 10 assists last season in Sweden’s U20 Super Elite league.
But it was the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament when Boqvist really grabbed the attention of the hockey world, scoring eight points in five games. As mentioned at the top, it was these offensive abilities that made him a household name in hockey circles.
“Offensively, Boqvist is electric; he has the toolbox of a top-line forward,” says Curtis Joe of Eliteprospects.com. “Slick puck-handling ability paired with excellent vision and positional awareness makes him a dangerous threat every time he is on the ice.”
Boqvist followed up that Hlinka performance with another strong showing at the U18 World Juniors, receiving the tournament’s best defenseman title with three goals and three asissts as part of Sweden’s bronze-medal finish.
The obvious knocks on a player with so much offensive upside will come in the defensive zone, where a player of Boqvist’s size and age will run into issues with how he navigates that half of the rink.
Boqvist’s highlight reel confirm the scouting reports on his offensive prowess:
Adam Boqvist said at the draft combine that he's 2-3 years away from being NHL-ready. "I need to work on everything because it’s the best league in the world. But I think in 2-3 years, I hope I can play in the NHL."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) June 23, 2018
The Hawks have now drafted four defenseman in the first two rounds during the past three years. Chicago selected Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell in the first and second rounds, respectively, last year. Boqvist, Jokiharju and Mitchell are all right-handed shots.
”The last couple years we’ve been able to pick some defensemen,” coach Joel Quenneville said on NBC Sports Network after Boqvist was drafted. “You can never have enough D. ”(Boqvist) moves the puck, he’s very active in the play. Very dynamic in a lot of ways. I think he can help our power play down the road. I’m looking forward to how he does over the summer and into camp.
”There’s opportunity on the back end on our team, and it’s going to be competitive along the way. But certainly you’ve got a guy that can move the puck and get involved offensively. Those guys are hard to find.”
For the immediate future, though, Boqvist won’t be in Chicago: