Adam Boqvist, 6-0, 189 pounds
August 15, 2000 (22 years old)
Acquired from Chicago July 23, 2021
Cap hit: $2.6M through 2024-25
Role: Top four defenseman
A big part of the return for franchise defenseman Seth Jones, Adam Boqvist is a former #8 overall pick at the NHL Draft (2018). Injuries hampered his first year with Columbus, allowing him to skate in just 52 games with the Blue Jackets. He scored 11 goals and added 11 assists for the team, showing flashes of high end skill. Unfortunately, he struggled defensively and had a hard time finding consistency. Improving these areas will be vital for Boqvist as he develops.
Obviously, any time you can acquire a 20 year old former top-10 pick, it’s an exciting pickup. Though slightly undersized for an NHL defenseman, Boqvist has a tantalizing skillset and at times plays like a fourth forward on the ice. He has excellent vision and knows how to time his plays in the offensive zone – especially off the rush. He has a good shot with a deceptive release, and can distribute the puck equally well. Through 128 NHL games, he has 17 goals and 51 points. The talent is there and he looks every bit the part of a top-4, powerplay quarterback defenseman.
On the defensive side of the puck is where Boqvist should look to improve. While he is slightly undersized, at 6-0 he isn’t tiny; and he would do himself well to come back stronger and more ready to compete in the defensive zone. His main focus should be turning the puck over, and using his skating ability and playmaking vision in transition. He doesn’t need to be a bull in front of the net or punishing along the boards, he just needs to use that same skating and vision to break up attacks with his stick or his body.
Three Keys to Success
- Defense first. This really should be his main focus; if he defends well, he’ll earn more playing time, and his offense will come.
- Stay healthy. At times he was the team’s #2 defenseman, when he was healthy and in the lineup. Keeping him on the ice should allow him to learn and develop the finer aspects of his game.
- Don’t be afraid. Jump into the play, use those high end offensive skills; that’s how Boqvist will be most effective. But pick your moments and make sure you can get back should the play turn the other way.
2022-23 Expectation: Prove it.
Zach Werenski was an 8th overall pick at one point in time. That’s not to say Adam Boqvist should be an NHL All-Star this season, but the expectations are pretty high for someone picked in that slot. There are going to be several highly talented, younger players coming into this system in the next few years; so Boqvist will need to carve out his place if he’s going to be a part of this team’s long-term story. I think this season is critical in his development; soon he’ll be entering his prime and he will need to show the league what kind of player he’s capable of being. Read: 2022 Season Preview: Jack Roslovic