The New Jersey Devils don’t have to worry about a negotiation with Jesper Boqvist, as the young forward has accepted his qualifying offer and signed a one-year, two-way contract for 2022-23. The deal will carry an NHL salary of $874,125 and an AHL salary of $70K.
While some players would give up a little on the NHL salary to secure a better minor league guarantee, Boqvist is obviously confident that he will spend most of the year in the NHL again this season. The 23-year-old played 56 games with the Devils in 2021-22, scoring ten goals and 23 points in the process.
Selected 36th overall in 2017, it’s been an interesting road for the Swedish forward. It looked as though he was going to make the jump directly from the SHL to the NHL in 2019, when broke camp with the club and played 34 games through the first part of the season. But he ended up sent back to the minor leagues in January, and would make just one more NHL appearance before the league was shut down early.
While we waited for things to start back up in 2020-21, the Devils decided to loan the young forward back to Sweden. On his return, he once again wasn’t able to fully establish himself in the NHL, splitting time between New Jersey and Binghamton. Even this past season, he spent seven games with the Utica Comets.
One would think the minor leagues are behind him now, given the fact that he is no longer waiver-exempt. If the Devils wanted to send him to the AHL, he would need to be offered to all of the other teams first. With his upside and performance, there’s little chance he would make it through at this point.
Still, it’s not like there is a ton of room in the New Jersey lineup. After adding Erik Haula in the Pavel Zacha trade and signing Ondrej Palat, the team has nine forwards on one-way contracts plus Miles Wood to sign as a restricted free agent. With Dawson Mercer securing a spot while on his entry-level contract and Alexander Holtz likely doing the same, there isn’t going to be a ton of playing time to go around. If Boqvist wants to be a key contributor, he’ll have to earn is with consistent play.
The young forward will still be a restricted free agent next summer.