Adam Boqvist is a right shot defenseman with spectacular offensive skill. He will need some time before making an NHL impact, however.
The Detroit Red Wings have historically had great success with European draft prospects. The organization has been among the best at scouting and developing talent from across the Atlantic. The organization’s legendary patience with their draft prospects paid off immeasurably during their 19 consecutive trips to the playoffs. Adam Boqvist is a prospect that needs that kind of patience and development. He is definitely worth the wait.
Boqvist is the second-ranked European skater on NHL central scouting’s prospect list. He trails only consensus number one pick Rasmus Dahlin. Boqvist has been an extremely effective international player at the Junior level. In the last Ivan Hlinka tournament, he had eight points in five games on the way to a bronze medal. He also scored the gold medal goal in the 2016 World Junior Tournament.
For his junior club team in Brynas, Sweeden, Boqvist averaged nearly a point per game with 14 goals and 10 assists in 25 games. It is only when he has taken the step to playing in the SHL where his need for some development time has shown. In 15 games played, the offensively gifted Boqvist managed only a single point. He fared slightly better in the second tier Swedish league scoring two points in seven games.
He has all of the offensive gifts you could ever ask for. His wrist shot is heavier than most. He has a one-timer of exceptional quality. The subtle positional shifts to set up a pass for a teammate, or to get create a lane to receive one are well within his grasp. His passes are lightning fast and pinpoint accurate. His ability to process the game is elite.
The reason Boqvist is having trouble making the transition to this higher level of competition is that he is a skinny kid. He is listed at 5’11” 168 lbs. Even in the U18 footage available online, Boqvist is a mouse among giants. His right-handed shot, offensive acumen, and ability to move the puck with his feet or stick make him a high-level prospect despite his size.
Given his difficulty in the SHL, it is difficult to see Boqvist as less than two full seasons away from the NHL. That is not uncommon among NHL prospects, in the NHL a team is drafting the player they hope will develop over a three to five year period, not the 17 or 18-year-old kid. Boqvist will never be tall, but he will get bigger and stronger. When he gets there, his value as an NHL player could be immense. Below is a video of every moment Boqvist was on the ice for a full game.