A good time for Boqvist's birthday to come around. A reminder of how young this kid really is. A reminder that just because he was overmatched against Edmonton and looked like absolute shit against Vegas in game 1 that this kid is...just a kid. I think we see the skating, the shot, top 10 pick pedigree, and we get frustrated with his inability to step in and be an impact player. Especially since there has been a trend of young defensemen stepping in and being impact players. McAvoy, Werenski, Heiskanen, Makar, and Hughes(taken one spot ahead of Boqvist) have all stepped in as teenagers or 20 year-olds and been important players for their teams. Players that lead directly to their team's upward trajectory. Historically those guys are rare. Just because Boqvist hasn't been able to do that doesn't mean he never will. The old cliche was that a Dman really needs like 250 pro games before he's ready. Boqvist has like 60 total between Rockford, Chicago, and the bubble games. Not all development is linear. Not every prospect is the same. Boqvist wasn't ready for the NHL. It's not his fault that the Hawks were so thin on defense that calling him up and playing became a necessity.
He's probably never going to be a guy you rely on defensively. He has shown some flashes like this
We just don't moments like this nearly often enough. Certainly more rare while bogged down in the Hawks own zone. When Colliton was hired we were told that it was because his communication and ability to develop young players were so strong. Hard to say those have been evident with Boqvist. Let's hope that he takes a big leap in terms of strength and ability to defend in the next year and doesn't get his name added to the list of 1st round picks traded by Stan before they reach their 2nd contract.
Boqvist is "toolsy". He might have the best snap shot I've ever seen out of a defenseman. He can fly. It seems as though he's never really been able to or allowed to play to his strengths. We've yet to see him be used as an offensive weapon. If he doesn't have that confidence or ability to use the skills which made him a top 10 pick then he is a liability and will be a bust. Let's hope that he is unleashed. Take the training wheels off. Let him fly.