Rasmus Dahlin is the crown jewel of the 2018 NHL Draft, but fellow Swedish defenseman Adam Boqvist isn’t too far behind
The best defenseman available at the 2018 NHL Draft is Rasmus Dahlin. It’s not even close. This says more about Dahlin than his competition because the 2018 draft still has a number of great defensemen prospects. If you’re looking for upside, no defenseman other than Dahlin has a larger one than Adam Boqvist.
Puck moving defensemen are coveted in today’s NHL. Teams can’t have too many of them. Boqvist is arguably the second best one in the draft, so it stands to gain he should go fairly early in the first round. It would be surprising to see him fall past the seventh pick.
Height: 5’11” (180 cm)
Weight: 170 pounds (77 kilograms)
Teams: Brynäs IF J20 (SuperElit); Brynäs IF (SHL); Almtuna IS (Allsvenskan)
Date of birth: August 15, 2000
SuperElit Statistics*: 25 games, 14 goals, 10 assists, 24 points, 18 penalty minutes, +6 plus-minus rating
SHL Statistics*: 15 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, 4 penalty minutes, -7 plus-minus rating
Average Prospect Ranking**: 5.5
*Stats are as of March 15, 2018
** Average prospect rankings are the collective average of a prospect’s rankings (McKeen’s, Hockey Prospect, Future Considerations, ISS Hockey)
Boqvist’s best asset is his skating. He is one of the best pure skaters in the draft. Combine this with Boqvist’s skill and he’s a surprisingly safe pick. Whenever Boqvist has played against his peers, he’s had success. He did especially well at the Hlinka Memorial Tournament with Sweden’s Under-18 team, notching eight points in five games.
While Boqvist is an unknown asset because he hasn’t played at too many tournaments, even when he has played against adults, he has held his own. It will be far more telling how he does next season, once he turns 18 years old. For a defenseman, Boqvist is extremely adept with the puck.
As you might know, I tend to ignore size, focusing more on skill and how a player uses their size (or lack thereof) to their advantage. But even for me, Boqvist is a tad bit undersized. His 5-foot-11 frame is fine, but he looks like a strong wind could blow him over.
Boqvist will have to beef up a little bit in order to have a better chance of making an impact in the NHL. Somewhere around 180-190 should be fine. His upper body strength will be critical because he struggles to move guys off the puck. Though it is worth noting Boqvist is opportunistic when it comes to creating turnovers.
Boqvist tends to get too fancy with the puck at times. Like many prospects, he has to learn when it’s OK to get creative and when he should just make the safe move. Boqvist also has to be better in the defensive zone.
Boqvist is a member of Sweden’s latest crop of talented defensemen. He might possess more offensive upside than Dahlin, which says a lot. Boqvist should at worst be an NHL caliber defenseman who needs to be sheltered. At best, he could be a top-pairing defenseman. That depends on how he adjusts to the NHL and how his frame fills out.
Player comparable: Boqvist has a very similar playing style to Ryan Ellis of the Nashville Predators, though Boqvist is a little bit bigger.
What do you think of Adam Boqvist? Will he make it to the NHL? Let us know in the comments!