Adam Boqvist Is Seeing His Game Round Into Shape In Calendar Year 2023

By Dan Dukart on February 20, 2023 at 10:15 am
Adam Boqvist against the Dallas Stars
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Adam Boqvist is playing arguably the best hockey in his NHL career.

With the absence of Zach Werenski and Vladislav Gavrikov, and to a lesser extent Jake Bean, the 22-year-old defenseman is thriving in a more pronounced role with the Blue Jackets.

In the past four games, the defenseman has posted a 2-3-5 (G-A-PTS) statline, and uncoincidentally the Blue Jackets are 2-1-1 in those games. The only regulation loss, to the New Jersey Devils, came at the buzzer. Boqvist alone isn't sabotaging the 'tank', but he's doing his part.

Since returning from injury in late December, Boqvist has tallied 2-13-15 in 21 games while averaging a manageable 17:15 TOI. In that same time span, Boqvist is showing well in some analytics, as well. His 58.97% goals-for-percentage (all situations) ranks 25th in the NHL, per NaturalStatTrick, by far the highest rank on the Blue Jackets (Nick Blankenburg ranks next at 104th). Amazingly, his expected goals-for-percentage ranks third in the NHL. On the one hand, these numbers are inflated by his power play performance. He's still not a great 5v5 player, as evidenced by his xGF% (48.4) and XG% (50%) during the same two months.

The future is still unknown for Boqvist. He's on the first year of a three-year deal that pays him a modest $2.6M cap hit, and he'll be an RFA after that. Suffice it to say that the Blue Jackets hope to turn him into a second-pairing defenseman with plus offense and passable defense that can quarterback a power play in his sleep. 

In this lost season, we've written ad nauseam about how development is truly the most important priority. Sometimes it's easy to forget that Boqvist is still just 22 and that he's only played in 153 regular-season NHL games. He may be a flawed player, but his assets are so enticing that the Blue Jackets, in the midst of a rebuild, hope to develop him to reach his full potential.   

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