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Boqvist brothers share apartment, goal of playing in NHL this season

Jesper hoping to debut for Devils, Adam for Blackhawks

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- While Jesper Boqvist and Adam Boqvist were training in Gavle, Sweden this summer, they shared an apartment along with their dream of playing in the NHL this season.

Although their focus was on getting for ready for NHL training camp, Jesper with the New Jersey Devils and Adam with the Chicago Blackhawks, the brothers enjoyed being roommates and fending for themselves for a while with their parents back in their hometown of Hedemora.

"It was fun," Adam said at the 11th annual NHLPA Rookie Showcase last week. "He did the cooking, I took the dishes."

Jesper, who turns 21 on Oct. 30, agreed that it was a fun summer but had a different take from Adam, who turned 19 on Aug. 15, on who did the cooking and dish washing.

"He's lying to you," Jesper said. "I did both."

Video: Adam Boqvist on his brother's advice, combine results

The Boqvists disagreed on the division of labor in their apartment but otherwise are so close that Adam said he can tell Jesper's mood simply by looking at him.

"He doesn't have to say anything," Adam said. "We know each other from inside to outside."

The brothers plan to speak on FaceTime daily throughout training camp to offer feedback, encouragement and whatever else is needed while they each try to make an NHL roster for the first time.

Jesper Boqvist, a 6-foot, 180-pound forward New Jersey selected in the second round (No. 36) of the 2017 NHL Draft, will start his journey at the 2019 Prospects Challenge at HarborCenter in Buffalo. Adam Boqvist, a 5-11, 179-pound defenseman Chicago selected with the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, will start at the 2019 NHL Prospect Tournament at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, Michigan.

After the tournament in Buffalo, Jesper will attend his first NHL training camp after playing for Brynas of the Swedish Hockey League the previous three seasons. He said he believes he's ready to make the jump to the NHL after he had 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) in 51 games last season but knows he'll have to adapt to the North American rink, which is 15 feet narrower than those used in international play.

"Of course it's going to be hard," Jesper said. "The only thing I can do is my best, so that's exactly what I'm going to do."

While training in Gavle this summer, the Boqvists skated with a group that included Brynas alumni Nicklas Backstrom and Christian Djoos of the Washington Capitals, Elias Lindholm of the Calgary Flames, Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators and Jakob Silfverberg of the Anaheim Ducks.

"That was really good for us to see how they practice in the summer and how hard they do it," Adam Boqvist said. "It's fun to skate out there with them. Now we know them as a person, not like hockey players. So it's fun and probably next summer we're going to go back and skate with them again."

A longtime Backstrom admirer, Jesper Boqvist used the opportunity to talk to the Capitals center about the keys to adjusting to the North American game.

"Be fast in the head and in the hands," Jesper said Backstrom told him. "People are close all the time, so that's the first priority."

From skating with him this summer, Backstrom said he sees similarities in the fleet Jesper's skating to Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov and former Capitals teammate Marcus Johansson, now with the Buffalo Sabres.

"Jesper is just floating when he's skating out there," Backstrom said. "Adam is just a skilled D-man that you don't see that often. I know he's offensive-minded, but he's very skilled and he will be fun to see."

Although younger than Jesper, Adam has the advantage on his brother because he began the adjustment to the North American game playing for London in the Ontario Hockey League last season. Adam demonstrated his offensive skill with 60 points (20 goals, 40 assists) in 54 regular-season games and 13 points (10 goals, three assists) in 11 playoff games but said he must continue to work on his defensive play.

"I think at the start it was hard for me, a new country, a new language and a new family and new teammates and everything like that," Adam said. "So it took me like three weeks to get into it really. I think at the end of the day that was a good choice for me and Chicago to go to London."

Adam said he believes that experience will help his bid to make the Blackhawks opening-night roster. He's also aware he could end up back in London if he doesn't prove he's ready for the NHL.

"It's not going to be a surprise wherever I'm playing," Adam said. "Of course if I'm playing in the NHL it's going to be harder, but I think it was a learning curve for me and I think in the (OHL) playoffs I played my best game."

Jesper Boqvist also has a contract with Brynas for this season, so it's possible he'll return to Sweden to play if he doesn't make the Devils roster. The goal, of course, is for him to play for New Jersey and Adam to be with Chicago this season.

If that happens they'd face each other for the first time at any level when the Blackhawks visit the Devils on Dec. 6.

"It would be sick, so cool. For sure a dream come true," Jesper said. "We talked about that. It will be weird to play against him."

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