Swedish defenceman Adam Boqvist signs with London Knights
“Good things come to those who wait” can easily be mistaken for a proverb or a quotate from a great philosopher.
It actually comes from a 1980s Heinz ketchup commercial, but it applies to the London Knights, too, who announced the signing of defenceman Adam Boqvist on Thursday.
Boqvist was slected by the Knights in the 2017 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, but elected to play last year in Sweden with Brynas on their J20 team
After being taken eighth overall in June’s 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Boqvist is coming over to North America. He put his name on an OHL Standard Player Agreement with London and Knights General Manager Rob Simpson says Boqvist brings a whole lot of talent with him.
“Adam is a very dynamic defenceman who is an elite skater and his first pass is exceptional,” Simpson said. “He has a lot of fakes and a great shot. I’ve seen him many times with his club team and in international play be able to pick the smallest of lanes and score with an accurate shot. Defensively he relies on his speed and smarts.”
It’s always difficult to make comparisons between someone who has not yet turned 18 and a player who has won the Norris Trophy twice, but scouts who have watched him play liken Boqvist’s style of game to Erik Karlsson.
Simpson echoes that.
“Obviously those are big shoes, but [Karlsson] is a player who Adam would model his game after if you asked him,” Simpson said, “and he definitely has a lot of those traits and a lot of that ability.”
Boqvist is an offensive defenceman who averaged roughly a point per game last year in Sweden and also helped his country to a gold medal victory at the Under-18 World Hockey Championship in Russia. Simpson describes his situation for this upcoming season as being similar to another current London Knight, as well as a player who was a Knight for a single exhibition game.
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“It’s similar to a Jesper Bratt or Alex Formenton or Evan Bouchard,” Simpson said. “They will come to [Knights training camp], probably play in an exhibition game or two and then they will head off and try to make their respective NHL clubs. That’s when we sit back and wait to see whether they come back to play for the London Knights or whether they are able to achieve their ultimate dream and play in the NHL.”
Where Boqvist winds up is entirely up to the Chicago Blackhawks. They signed the Falun native to an entry-level contract on Sunday.
Should he wind up in London, Simpson believes he will have an impact, but there will still be things to adjust to.
“When you are coming from international ice to North American ice, even players like Olli Juolevi, Nikita Zadorov and Olli Maata came over,” points out Simpson, “They are elite players and it did take them time before they feel comfortable and you get to see everything that they are capable of doing.”
Boqvist has been a very quick learner at every level and even held his own in 15 games in the Swedish Hockey League in 2017-18. The SHL is the highest level of hockey in that country.
He aim is to get to the highest level of hockey anywhere and play in Chicago. The Knights have become famous for their ability to put players into the NHL and they may get an opportunity to tutor Adam Boqvist as early as this fall.
London Knights assistant coach Dylan Hunter has been named an assistant coach for Team Canada White at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. Former Western Mustang and current Hamilton Bulldogs assistant coach David Matsos was named an assistant coach for Team Red.
There are six area connections headed to Team Canada’s World Junior Summer Showcase in Kamloops, B.C. beginning on July 28. Londoners Nick Suzuki and Isaac Ratcliffe will join Evan Bouchard and Alex Formenton of the London Knights and former Knights captain Robert Thomas. All were named to the camp’s 40-man roster. Hockey Canada and London Knights Head of Security, Bob Martin will also attend.
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