Second City Hockey’s 2020-21 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2020. The rankings are determined by a composite score from three SCH writers and community member, L_B_R. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. All four ballots will be released after the series is completed.
Adam Boqvist didn’t get much time on the power play last season.
You’d think the Blackhawks would want their exciting, young, offensive-minded defenseman on the special teams unit he’d be best on, but Boqvist ranked third among Blackhawks defensemen in power play ice time during the 2019-20 season. He trailed Duncan Keith and Erik Gustafsson, who were on the first unit throughout the season, while Boqvist was largely on the second.
That may have put a damper on Boqvist’s production in his rookie season, as he walked away with just 13 points in 41 games — two of those points on the power play. His limited usage on the man advantage also continued into the postseason, which factored into Boqvist not having a point in those eight games.
All of those numbers came one year after Boqvist had 60 points in just 54 OHL games, the sixth-most among defensemen. His production rate of 1.11 points per game was fifth-best in the league. Of his points that season, 23 came on the power play — including eight of his 20 goals.
Boqvist will likely always fare better in the offensive zone than in his own end. He probably won’t spend much time on the penalty kill. But that doesn’t mean he can’t improve defensively. In fact, improvement there is necessary for his long-term career.
But Boqvist is also capable of more offensively, which would allow him to have a larger impact than he did in ‘19-20. That means putting him in a position to succeed, by letting him run the point on the Blackhawks top power play unit in the upcoming season. With the Blackhawks focusing attention on their younger players, Boqvist should be given every opportunity to flash the offensive ability that made him a top-ten pick.
Boqvist will spend the ‘20-21 season with the Blackhawks. He’ll likely return to his pairing with Duncan Keith and perhaps spend time with other, younger defensemen with adept defensive skills that can cover for any mistakes made when Boqvist is attempting to make impacts on the offensive side of the ice. And, hopefully, this season will see him finish higher than No. 3 in the category of power play ice time among Blackhawks defensemen.
All advanced statistics from Natural Stat Trick