One day after announcing that No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach will remain in the NHL this season, the Blackhawks recalled top defenseman prospect Adam Boqvist from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.
Boqvist has one point and 14 shots on goal in six games with the IceHogs. He scored his first goal as a pro in Wednesday's 6-2 win over the San Antonio Rampage.
The Blackhawks' roster now sits at 23 players, which features eight defensemen. With Connor Murphy on long-term injured reserve, a corresponding move is not needed but it does raise questions about the timing of the call-up and the motive behind it.
Here's what head coach Jeremy Colliton had to say exactly one week ago when asked whether the Blackhawks considered calling Boqvist up instead of Dennis Gilbert, who took Murphy's spot on the roster:
"He had a good camp and made a good impression, made a lot of plays as an offensive player," Colliton said. "That's not a bad thing for him to continue have time to learn the pro game, and obviously with the focus on defending. Ultimately, we want to see him down there defending the way he's going to have to up here, and that's the challenge for him."
It's worth noting that Erik Gustafsson has had an underwhelming start to the season and he is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The offensive production hasn't been there and he's quarterbacking a power play that has slipped to 30th in the NHL. It's possible the Blackhawks want to give Boqvist a look to see if he can handle a top role earlier than expected.
Like Dach, if Boqvist plays in more than nine NHL games this season, the first year of his entry-level contract will be burned because he's still only 19 years old. But the Blackhawks appear to be comfortable with that if they're both making an impact and helping the team win hockey games.
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