It’s a pretty fantastic draft class for defensemen that if you miss out on a player like Rasmus Dahlin, you can still land someone like Adam Boqvist, and it really speaks to the depth of this defensive class when there are yet still other high-end D prospects to choose from throughout the first round. Whoever the best defenseman not named Rasmus Dahlin is the subject of a bit of debate at this point, but one of the favorites is Adam Boqvist.
Boqvist first grabbed my attention while scouting his brother Jesper (who was one of the top European prospects in the 2017 draft, and was taken 36th overall by the New Jersey Devils). My curiosity piqued after doing my homework on Jesper, I decided to get a head start on the 2018 draft and do whatever research I could on Adam. Last season, Adam played between the J18 Elit and the SuperElit over in Sweden, tallying 8 goals and 6 assists in 8 games in the J18 Elit, and putting up an impressive 4 goals and 12 assists in the highest junior league in Sweden as a Draft -1 defenseman. But it wasn’t until the Ivan Hlinka tournament that I actually had an opportunity to watch him in-game, where he finished 2nd in tournament scoring behind only Dmitri Zavgorodniy with a goal and 7 assists through 5 games. Much of this report is based on my observations from his Ivan Hlinka tournament. Should he have a good remainder of the season this year, he could find himself landing in the top 5 in June. I would also argue that he is one of a few contenders to go 3rd after Rasmus Dahlin and Andrei Svechnikov are off the board.
Name: Adam Boqvist
Date of Birth: August 15, 2000
Birthplace: Falun, Sweden
Current Team: Brynäs IF J20
Wears: #16 (#3 in international play)
Weight: 170 lbs
NHL Comparable: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Future Considerations: 3rd
ISS Hockey: 8th
McKeen’s Hockey: 4th
NHL CSS (International Rankings): 2nd
Boqvist is your prototypical Swedish defenseman in every way, shape, and form. A brilliant skater with high-end agility in all four directions, Boqvist makes great use of his agility when maneuvering around with and without the puck on his stick. Boqvist’s edgework is very good, and he can change directions and cut laterally to open up the ice for himself. He has a very powerful first step, and can accelerate quickly to get to top speeds, allowing him to rush the puck up ice and avoid forecheckers.
The offensive zone is where Boqvist is truly in his element. He has puck skills that will bring you out of your seat, and can juke, dangle, and weave around the offensive zone with the puck as good as any defenseman in this draft class not named Rasmus Dahlin. What I like in particular about Boqvist is that while his skill is obvious every single time he touches the puck, he keeps his game simple, efficient, and avoids trying to make fancy, low percentage passes more often than not. His skating abilities allow him to stretch the ice out very quickly, and to add to that, he possesses a great first pass out of the defensive zone to start the transition. He is very dependable on the cycle game, able to distribute the puck quickly and very cleanly to his teammates. He is very effective on the point, and he’s very good at keeping the play alive in the offensive zone. Boqvist’s shot is heavy and very accurate. Rather than fire it from the point, he will often carry the puck deeper into the offensive zone where his wrist shot is a lot more dangerous. That being said, he will still not hesitate to shoot it from the point, and when he does, he’s very good at getting the puck on net through heavy traffic. His offensive skill is downright gamebreaking, and he can be difficult to contain when the pace of the game is fast. These assets could make him a team’s go-to offensive option on the back end in the NHL one day.
Defensively, you will hear some mixed things about Boqvist, depending on who you talk to. He uses his stick very vigilantly in both offensive and defensive situations to both disrupt breakout attempts by opponents, and to disrupt attacking players in his defensive zone. He keeps his feet moving, which lets him cover his man effectively. Not the biggest defenseman, Boqvist relies more on his stickwork, his agility, and his positioning, which he uses to box opponents out. That being said, while he is willing to engage with opponents physically, that is not one of his strengths, and he can get outmuscled by bigger forwards. Thus, he can appear to be more passive in the defensive zone, looking to create a turnover rather than play the body. His upper body strength is going to need work if he is to transition to the NHL one day, as he doesn’t have the strength to move bigger players off of the puck. Boqvist can also gamble at times, which can be rather frustrating to watch at times, and his positioning will continue to need more improvement. Don’t expect to draft Boqvist and have him play elite shutdown hockey the moment he steps into your system. He will need some more patience and time to find his way on the defensive side of the puck.
Despite these shortcomings, Boqvist adds a dynamic to the blueline that any GM covets. What he needs to work on with his risk-taking and physical assertiveness he more than makes up for with his ability to act as a fulcrum for a team’s offense, and he brings a flair to a team’s back end that definitely warrants consideration for a top 10 pick.
Note: Adam is wearing #3 in this video. Other prominent 2018 prospects appearing in this video that are in the top 50 on NHL CSS’s NA and International Midterm rankings:
On Canada: Ty Smith (#3, #14 on NHL CSS), Calen Addison (#5, #34 on NHL CSS), Noah Dobson (#6, #8 on NHL CSS), Ryan Merkley (#7, #23 on NHL CSS), Jett Woo (#8, #20 on NHL CSS), Joe Veleno (#9, #13 on NHL CSS), Jared McIsaac (#14, #12 on NHL CSS), Akil Thomas (#16, #10 on NHL CSS), Ty Dellandrea (#18, #76 on NHL CSS), Benoit-Olivier Groulx (#19, #18 on NHL CSS), Jack McBain (#20, #29 on NHL CSS), Barrett Hayton (#21, #6 on NHL CSS), Serron Noel (#22, #9 on NHL CSS), Gabriel Fortier (#17, #35 on NHL CSS), and Kevin Bahl (#2, #30 on NHL CSS).
On Sweden: Rasmus Sandin (#9, #15 on NHL CSS), Filip Johansson (#5, #17 on NHL CSS), Axel Andersson (#6, #22 on NHL CSS), Adam Ginning (#10, #7 on NHL CSS), Oskar Back (#11, #26 on NHL CSS), David Lilja (#12, #35 on NHL CSS), David Gustafsson (#13, #23 on NHL CSS), Filip Hallander (#15, #12 on NHL CSS), Samuel Fagemo (#16, #40 on NHL CSS), Jonatan Berggern (#17, #24 on NHL CSS), Albin Eriksson (#20, #21 on NHL CSS), Jacob Olofsson (#21, #5 on NHL CSS), Lukas Wernblom (#23, #31 on NHL CSS), and Marcus Westfalt (#26, #44 on NHL CSS). Video Credit: Hockey Slovakia - YouTube
Video Credit: The Draft Analyst - YouTube
Video Credit: Swedish Hockey Prospects - YouTube
Video Credit: aj ranger - YouTube
Let’s not mince words here. The Wings are not exactly inspiring any confidence this year. At the moment, they are standing in the bottom 5 in the league, and there’s still a very good chance that they miss out on the top 5 because the way the lottery system is set up. However, there could still be a serious chance that Adam Boqvist falls into the Wings’ lap in June, and the Wings may end up with a pretty tough dilemma of who to pick, especially given some of the other talent that would be available for them to pick at that position. That being said, I’ve always argued that you can never have too many good defensive prospects, and getting one of Boqvist, Smith, or Hughes would really bolster the Wings’ defensive core down the line, even if they do miss out on Rasmus Dahlin. With all of the options available, however, the front office has some serious homework that they need to do in deciding who they take, and it would have to be a very good prospect for me to even consider passing Boqvist up.
Anyways, that is all for today’s report. Next up is a prospect who has been made waves at the World Junior Championship. He is someone that fans of the team who draft him will love, and everyone else will loathe completely. I am, of course, talking about Brady Tkachuk. Happy New Year everyone, and thanks for reading!