By Thomas Gibbons
eremy Colliton made it known to the media on Wednesday that rookie Kirby Dach will remain with the Blackhawks this season. On Thursday, the Blackhawks recalled Adam Boqvist from the Rockford IceHogs.
It has begun.
The youth movement is here in Chicago. Dach, 18, and Boqvist, 19, are the Blackhawks last two first round selections and pillars for the future of the hockey team. Now they will be contributors on a struggling team and hopefully, for the fans and the organizations, they can be bright spots.
Boqvist, spent last season with the London Knights and turned pro this season, scored his first pro goal Wednesday night in Rockford. His offensive abilities are special and a reason why the Blackhawks selected him with their 8th overall pick in 2018. An offensive defenseman, Boqvist still has a long way to go when defending the blue line, but the Blackhawks believe he is ready to contribute at the NHL level.
While we know the future of Dach, it is unclear how long Boqvist will be with the Blackhawks. Boqvist can play 9 games in the NHL this season before a year is burned off of his entry-level deal. The Blackhawks believe Dach is ready and can contribute so they bit the bullet on losing a year of his deal. Boqvist will be given the opportunity to do the same.
What if Boqvist s here long-term? Let’s take a look at what that could mean for the defenseman group on the roster.
The Blackhawks roster is now at 22 with Boqvist in the mix. The issue now on the roster is Colliton is carrying eight defenseman, something that is unconventional in the NHL. It may not be a problem in the short term but if Boqvist does indeed stay up for good, the Blackhawks would likely make some sort of move, especially when Connor Murphy returns from injured reserve. The easy solution would be to send Dennis Gilbert back down to Rockford and release Slater Koekkoek. But there are other avenues that could be explored such as through a trade. A candidate for that would be Erik Gustafsson.
A unrestricted free agent after this season, Gustafsson does not appear to be in the Blackhawks future. His 60 points explosion last season showed his value he had to the Blackhawks offensive game, especially quarterbacking the power play. His issue though is defense and there has been no improvement. Now, Boqvist may not be that much better considering he has along way to go, but the Blackhawks are highly invested in him. Trading Gustafsson frees up a spot in the lineup. Boqvist is not coming to Chicago to be a healthy scratch. Colliton is going to see what he has in Boqvist and if they want to hold onto him this season, then a move will have to be made.
The other option is far-fetched but could become reality. Brent Seabrook has been a healthy scratch the last two games. While his no-trade clause is still in effect, it can be waived at any time. While right now that seems unlikely, a telling quote from Seabrook the other day caused for speculation.
The keyword is “somebody”. He obviously upset and who wouldn’t be. But that “somebody” was quickly jumped on by the media and makes you ponder if Seabrook could asked to be moved. Again, it’s far-fetched right now but if the Blackhawks start to commit to their young players, Boqvist will be getting in the way of veterans seeing the ice.
Could Boqvist be send back to the AHL after the road-trip? Of course he could. It happens all the time. But if he impresses quickly and helps get this team out of their losing rut, it would be a great argument to keep him up for good.