The NHL put its 2019-20 season on pause March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but remains hopeful to award the Stanley Cup at some point. Although it's unclear if or when it could return, NBC Sports Chicago will recap the season of each Blackhawks player to date in our "season in review" series. Next up is Adam Boqvist.
When Adam Boqvist was drafted by the Blackhawks with the No. 8 overall selection in 2018, he admitted he was at least two or three years away from being a full-time NHL player. But his timeline got sped up in Year 2.
After one (breakout) season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, Boqvist turned pro and started the season in the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs. He struggled in the first month, but still earned an NHL call-up in early November that reeked of desperation.
The reality is, the Blackhawks were struggling mightily out of the gates and they needed a boost in some way, shape or form. While Boqvist wasn’t necessarily recalled to serve as the savior, patience was running thin and the Blackhawks' management group felt they needed their top defenseman prospect helping out the big club. It was all hands on deck.
To his credit, Boqvist didn't look out of place. He scored his first career NHL goal in just his second game and was given power-play responsibilities. But after the Blackhawks got back on track, Boqvist was sent back to Rockford to continue developing at his own pace.
One month later, Boqvist was called up again. But this time it was based out of necessity after Duncan Keith (groin) and Olli Maatta (illness) were sidelined going into a three-game road trip. And with the season-ending injuries to Calvin de Haan and Brent Seabrook within a week span, the Blackhawks saw an opportunity to give Boqvist a chance to work through the growing pains at the NHL level.
Boqvist appeared in 41 games with the Blackhawks before the league was put on pause, burning the first year of his entry-level contract and pulling him one year closer to free agency. The Blackhawks were probably hoping to avoid doing that for both Boqvist and Kirby Dach in the same season, but the team had legitimate playoff aspirations and having them around would only help their chances.
Boqvist registered 13 points (four goals, nine assists) and averaged 16:13 of ice time prior to the pause. The offensive talent is evident with the 19-year-old Swedish defenseman and his defensive game is improving. But his body is still developing, and the Blackhawks must show the proper amount of patience if they want Boqvist to blossom into the player they believe he can become.
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