Young defenseman Adam Boqvist has been sensational for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season, at least when he has been on the ice. For the second time already in 2021-22, that won’t be the case for at least the next week as the club has announced that Boqvist has landed on the injured reserve with an undisclosed upper body injury. Defenseman Jake Christiansen has been recalled to fill Boqvist’s roster spot for the time being.
Acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in the Seth Jones blockbuster this summer, Boqvist has already shown that he will be a key piece of new-look blue line in Columbus. The eighth overall pick in 2018, Boqvist started to show why he was considered such an elite prospect with his play in Chicago last season, but has taken his game to a new level in Columbus. Boqvist is scoring at a half point-per-game pace, recording nine points in 18 games. He’s also doing so in less than 16 minutes of ice time per night. Boqvist’s six goals is among the top five defenseman in the NHL so far this season and give of those tallies have come in the past two weeks, leading all blue liners in that span. Boqvist has totaled eight points overall in his past nine games.
Unfortunately, that hot streak came to a halt on Thursday night as Boqvist was injured against the Anaheim Ducks and will now miss “at least a week” according to the team. This is Boquist second substantial injury of the season already, as he previously missed six games with an undisclosed lower-body injury in late October and early November. While Boqvist was able to ramp up his production once he returned to full strength, there is no guarantee that he will do the same this time around. Boqvist suffered a broken wrist and a concussion last season in Chicago, missing a total of ten games – which would have been more if not for the end of the regular season. Boqvist has proven his ability on the ice, just not that he can consistently be on the ice. The dilemma for Columbus will be managing his ice time and situational use if he is deemed an injury prone player with maximizing his production given his obvious offensive ability. At just 21 years old, not to mention 5’11” and under 180 pounds, the hope for the Jackets is that Boqvist can continue fill out his frame and shake the injury bug.
With Boqvist on the shelf, Christiansen will get his first shot at the NHL. An undrafted free agent who was a late-blooming puck-mover in the WHL, Christiansen has impressed in two AHL seasons since signing with Columbus. The 22-year-old has 18 points in 21 games with the Cleveland Monsters this season and has more than earned a chance to see what he can do at the top level. With Boqvist’s offense missing from the blue line, Christiansen makes sense as his replacement for the time being, but the young defenseman has a chip on his shoulder and will be looking to make a more long-term impression with the Blue Jackets.