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Boqvist making push to stick with Blackhawks

Defenseman prospect was selected with No. 8 pick in 2018 Draft

by Scott King / Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Adam Boqvist was hard to miss at his second Chicago Blackhawks development camp. The 18-year-old defenseman prospect was calm, cool and collected throughout drills and scrimmages. 

Especially so when he had an assist on a goal by forward Josiah Slavin during a camp scrimmage on July 19.

Tweet from @NHLBlackhawks: ICYMI: This move was fun to watch yesterday. #HawksProspects

Boqvist's skating and puck-moving ability, which led to the Blackhawks selecting him with the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, look even more promising after he had 60 points (20 goals, 40 assists) in 54 games with London of the Ontario Hockey League last season.

"Of course I want to play in the NHL, but we'll see," Boqvist said during Blackhawks development camp two weeks ago. "I want to turn pro quick and I think I'm pretty ready for that."

Chicago general manager Stan Bowman agrees Boqvist may be ready. 

"I think we're probably leaning toward that," Bowman said of the possibility. "I don't know that we've made any declarations that's what he's going to do. In talking to Adam, I think he wants to take that next step. It's probably looking like that, but nothing's been determined for sure. He had a good introduction last year. 

"In training camp, I thought he fared pretty well, got in some exhibition games. He's taken a big step, he had a big season. I think the biggest thing for Adam was to get acclimated to North America and to be on one team. He bounced around during his draft year, he was like on three different teams. 

"Last year he was in London the whole time. I thought he showed a lot of development and progression to his game. He scored over 30 goals when you look at the playoffs (31). He's a defenseman and that's a productive year."

Video: Blackhawks draft D Adam Boqvist No. 8

Though Boqvist, born in Falun, Sweden, is known for his offense, Bowman said he has noticed an improvement on defense.

"Probably the biggest thing I've noticed is his defending with the stick," Bowman said. "He's got a very active stick and that's going to be something he'll have to be good at because he's not a big guy (5-foot-11, 179 pounds), although he does look stronger. 

"I think he's worked hard at that part of his game to be more physically able to battle. But his defending is going to be more through the use of his stick and his brain, his smarts and his quickness. I think he's really taken steps with the way he defends with his stick."

One player Boqvist has been getting pointers from is former Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell, who won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010 and played a similar style. 

"He's helped me a lot," Boqvist said. "He got to London seven times, I think. … I've talked to him a lot and they want to help me be a better hockey player. Of course, he's a great hockey player and a great person."

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