After already deciding that Kirby Dach wouldn’t be heading to the World Junior Championship later this month, the Chicago Blackhawks have come to the same conclusion regarding Adam Boqvist. The young defenseman will not join Team Sweden for the event and has been replaced by Arizona Coyotes prospect Victor Soderstrom on the roster.
Boqvist, 19, played his ninth game of the season for the Blackhawks last night, getting 15 minutes of ice time in a loss to the St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks collapsed in the third period to blow a 3-0 lead and now sit at 12-15-6 on the season. Despite their team struggles, management has obviously decided that getting Dach and Boqvist more NHL experience is more important than any success they could have overseas against other junior-aged players.
Interestingly, the next game that Boqvist plays for the Blackhawks is an important one. It would trigger his entry-level contract for this season, making him a restricted free agent in the summer of 2022. That is already the case for Dach, who now has 27 NHL games under his belt since going third overall last June.
Soderstrom meanwhile will get an exciting opportunity in Boqvist’s place. The 11th overall pick from 2019, Soderstrom is already one of the most polished two-way defensive prospects in the game. Already with most of a season under his belt at the SHL level a year ago, he’s back at the highest level in Sweden this season and finding great success. With nine points he leads all defenseman in scoring for Brynas, despite having played just 15 out of their 24 games. He’ll join an elite Swedish defense corps that still may get Rasmus Sandin from the Toronto Maple Leafs.