Jesper Boqvist is a speedy, skilled player that has some evaluators divided on what his future holds. It’s not so much the ceiling that is up for debate (all seem to agree that it’s quite high), but whether he can still provide any value if he doesn’t reach it. Showing flashes of elite skill and a high level of intelligent, Boqvist’s effort level waxes and wanes, and he seems to have little regard for physical play or working his way into the high percentage areas of the ice.
Despite some red flags, Boqvist’s obvious talent will have teams hoping that they can coax a complete game out of him. Boqvist lands at #47 on our list of draft eligible players.
- Age: 18 – October 30th, 1998
- Birthplace: Falun, SWE
- Frame: 6’0″ / 179 lbs
- Position: Centre/Wing
- Handedness: Left
- Draft Year Team: Brynas IF
- Accomplishments/Awards: SHL SM-silver Medal (16/17); Hlinka Memorial Silver Medal, U18 WJC Silver Medal (15/16); J18 SM Gold Medal (14/15)
Cohort Based (pGPS)
A speedster with lethal offensive skill…possesses a smooth-skating style and often makes use of his speed to beat defensemen on the outside…his speed combined with very fine hands is what makes him such a dangerous player…reads the play and defense well…can both find teammates with passes or deke defenders…is strong on the puck for a player his size, and is difficult to catch…will carry the puck into the offensive zone and hold on to it in order to let his teammates get into position…his intensity can go from high to non-existent so his consistency will need to be addressed…can use both speed and hands to create scoring chances…great playmaking skills, but could use a little work on his shot…his combination of quick feet and quick hands makes him dangerous…high-upside, offensive forward on the next level.
From Corey Pronman of ESPN (Excerpt only – full article behind pay wall):
Boqvist possesses very good speed and puck skills. You occasionally see him have a “wow” moment where he makes a very creative play with the puck, or evade pressure in a difficult manner. He can be taken out of the game physically, though. I have never been a huge fan of his defensive play, but the way he’s transitioned to the pro game gives me some optimism that he could be a competent forward in his own end.
From Jimmy Hamrin of McKeen’s Hockey (Excerpt only – full article behind pay wall):
A creative offensive player with quick feet and quick hands. He has NHL potential but needs to get stronger and more consistent in his decision making on the ice. If he reaches his potential it will be as a top 6 player because that is where he can contribute. His best asset is his puck control at high-top speed. He has impressively been able to produce points at any level that he has faced so far and his skill set has elite potential. For the upcoming draft, I see Boqvist as a good second round pick that has the chance to pan out well for the team that picks him. He still has a lot of ground work to do with his game and will need a couple more years of development before reaching his potential.
The stats are really impressive – almost half a point per game through two upper tiers of Swedish hockey. While I can make a strong case for a roadrunner like Boqvist to be closer to the first round, his marginal all-around game and over-confidence with the puck makes him somewhat of a gamble. But this kid has game-breaking skills and can beat goalies just about any way imaginable.
Boqvist fits the traditionally bill of a boom-or-bust player. Although some prospect evaluators have soured on that term, I believe it simply needs to be used in a specific context – and this is one of them. Boqvist has a boatload of speed and skill, and the potential to be a top six producer at the NHL level. However, he must bulk up and learn to deal with the physicality of professional hockey, especially North American professional hockey, in order to stick around at that level. He’s not there yet, and if he doesn’t develop that, he may never play an NHL game. Boom/bust.
Across the pond, Boqvist has found some semblance of success in the top Swedish leagues, netting 12 points in 19 games in the Allsvenskan, and six assists in 16 games in the Swedish Hockey League. While that isn’t an elite level of production, it’s nothing to scoff at.
In the SHL, Boqvist averaged 8:15 of ice time, with a smidgen of power play time (0:28 per game, for 7:46 in total over 16 games) and no penalty kill time. He started out getting next to nothing, before being bumped up to middle six minutes after a stint in the Tier-2 league. He rewarded his coach with six points in a four game stretch, but he went quiet after that. He played a further 10 games for Brynas in the SHL playoffs, with his ice time increased to an average of 10:23, but he collected just one point (his first SHL goal) and his shot rate crashed.
Whatever happened to Boqvist’s offence, he didn’t appear to hurt the team too much – they scored 12 goals while he was on the ice at even strength, and allowed only six against, including not being on the ice for any goals against in the post-season.
Boqvist’s time in the Allsvenskan yielded better raw production. He played for Timra IK, spending a fair bit of his time there with top 2017 prospect Elias Pettersson and Canucks prospect Jonathan Dahlen, who surely helped boost his production. They certainly helped his on-ice numbers, as seen below – luckily I happen to have WOWY numbers from Timra thanks to the Deep Dive I did on Dahlen when the Canucks acquired him.
In the SuperElit league, Boqvist was a point per game player for the brief time that he spent there, scoring 10 goals on 26 shots for a slightly ridiculous 38.5% shooting percentage. He played centre during at that level, losing more draws than he won (he had a faceoff percentage of 46%) though that didn’t seem to effect his production at all, nor his on-ice results – he also had a 69% Goals-For percentage in the junior league.
Boqvist figures to go at some point in the second round at the end of June, and he will be a very interesting prospect to follow over the next few years. If he fulfills his potential, the team that nabs him could make out like bandits – but the situation could just as easily end in disappointment for all involved. A lot of this will depend on Boqvist’s ability to develop a more well rounded game to survive at the North American professional level for an extended period of time.