I’m starting a new series this week taking a look at the New Jersey Devils’ draft prospects (picks) from the last three years, including this year. The series will run up until development camp, which should be the second week of July. I’ll take a look at two prospects each day (and maybe three if I start running out of time) starting today. If you want to check out every post, you can look through the “Draft Prospect Series” tag on my blog. Let’s get started.
In the 2017 NHL Entry-Level Draft, the Devils selected C/W Jesper Boqvist 36th overall (second round). Born October 30, 1998, the Swedish forward is 6′ 0″ and 179 lbs. He’s a very talented center who has also played some wing.
Here are some of his statistics:
He’s played his entire junior career in the Swedish system and played last season in the Swedish Hockey League (in addition to other leagues). He clearly knows how to score goals and has plenty of skills to complement his goal-scoring (and goal-creating) ability. He is quick (watch him play) and has an excellent hockey sense. He didn’t have an easy time adjusting to the SHL but that’s understandable.
His biggest problem is his inconsistency but that shouldn’t become a major issue going forward. He does also need to work on his defensive skills but that’s something he can work on as well. If he can hone those two areas of his game and maybe build some extra muscle, he should be a solid forward within the next few years or so.
Here are some highlights from his excellent 2015-16 season, where he had 59 points in 41 games:
There are also a ton of individual goal clips on YouTube (just search his name) that I would definitely check out.
Here is what Elite Prospects had to say about him: “Boqvist is an offensive skilled player with impressive skating and puck skills. Shifty player who scores spectacular goals from time to time. There’s some consistency issues, but when on top of his game, Boqvist can be quite dominant with the puck and an offensive threat.”
Here is what Future Considerations had to say: “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.”
There’s also a draft profile from Oilers Nation, which is excellent and I would definitely recommend checking it out. Boqvist is ranked #47 on their list of draft-eligible players.
But all-in-all, I like him. I think he has the ability to become an even more dynamic center than he already is. The Devils do have more centers than they need but Boqvist has also played some wing. They could potentially shift him around if they decide that he would be a better fit at wing than at center. I think he still has some development and conditioning to do but that applies to most prospects, if not all of them.
The series continues later today with another 2017 draft pick, Fabian Zetterlund!