For the first time in 11 years, the Chicago Blackhawks had a pick in the top 10 of the NHL Draft. The last time that happened, they selected Patrick Kane No. 1 overall. That’s worked out well. In 2018, the Blackhawks grabbed a young, offensively-gifted defenseman in Adam Boqvist. He joins what has been a steadily improving crop of prospects on the blue line, but any player who’s selected seventh overall in a draft is going to come in near the top of an organization’s prospect rankings. And here he is, debuting at No. 4 on our list.
Birth date: August 15, 2000
Acquired via: 2018 NHL Draft — first round (8th overall)
Most recent stop: Brynas IF — SHL
Size: 5’11, 168 pounds
Contract: Three years, $925,000 cap hit (entry-level contract)
Last year’s ranking: N/A
This should all be familiar by now. Boqvist, who just turned 18 years old, is a brilliant offensive talent. Every scouting report about Boqvist touts his hockey sense, his ability to see plays that the average hockey player do that. Combine that offensive vision with the requisite hands capable of sending the puck wherever it needs to be delivered, and it adds up to a brand of hockey that is just a joy to watch.
Just look (GIF from HFBoards):
Really, take a look (GIF from The Charging Buffalo):
Want more? Here’s more:
It’s all on display in those highlights, everything that made Boqvist worthy of a No. 8 pick and drew countless comparisons to fellow Swede Erik Karlsson. That’s also why the Blackhawks wasted little time in signing Boqvist to an entry-level deal on July 1.
The most difficult part of Boqvist’s future will be finding patience. This is still a teenager who has a lot of development standing between his current position and an everyday NHL role. Along with adding to his slight, 168-pound frame, Boqvist will also need to improve upon the defensive aspects of his game. But there’s just so much to like about Boqvist’s offensive abilities when he’s at his best. And that’s why he’s one of the most exciting prospects Chicago has had in the last decade.
What’s next in 2018-19?
As announced last month, Boqvist will be moving to North American ice surfaces this season when he suits up for the OHL’s London Knights. Last week, The Athletic’s Scott Powers detailed why the Hawks are sending Boqvist to London, a team that’s produced other Blackhawks like Kane and Dave Bolland and should feature Boqvist heavily during their games. London is roughly 400 miles east of Chicago, but two more teams offer a slightly shorter drive for any Hawks fans who’d wish to catch glimpses of Boqvist in person: the Flint Firebirds and Saginaw Spirit are both in southeastern Michigan, approximately 275 miles from Chicago.
Boqvist should also be in the mix to represent Sweden in the 2018 World Juniors, which begin in late December.