Is it desperation? Is it just a recognition the Hawks have a serious speed and skill deficiency? Is it just to distract from the Seabrook drama? All of it? Who the fuck knows, and who the fuck cares, because we get to see the most fun toy the Hawks have in the organization (outside a fully engaged Patrick Kane, which we haven’t seen this year yet). Earlier today, the Hawks called up Adam Boqvist.
The need for Boqvist, or the idea of Boqvist at least, is quite obvious. The Hawks have no d-man who can skate himself out of trouble. They have no defenseman who can get them started in transition by himself. They have no puck-movers, ever since Erik Gustafsson suddenly lost the limited skill he had to be that. Their power play sucks, and is in desperate need of movement and creativity.
Can Boqvist do all this? Yes, someday. Now? Certainly not all at once. And it would be utter lunacy to have #27 doing anything above a third-pairing role to start. Which is probably why the Hawks will do it. They could be that desperate. In 12-15 minutes a night, Boqvist is not going to be able to turn games or change them. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and if they really think something is going to come of this season, then you need to start the process of getting him there as quickly as possible.
Boqvist can do things about the power play. The Hawks need power play goals. They’re not going to go anywhere without them. They’re not good enough at even-strength, and they’re not going to be unless they find one or two more Boqvists than they have. They simply have to win the special teams battle. They’re getting completely turked on them now. Boqvist isn’t going to help the kill, but he can help the power play.
So no Kirby Dach shit and not have him out there even if he’s a rookie. Fuck, put him on the #1 unit ahead of Gustafsson. I don’t care. Knock it off with this goddamn drop pass at center ice. Have Boqvist threaten it, but then skate through two people and create chances off the rush. With Boqvist’s speed and skill, he can actually back people up at the blue line. Gustafsson can’t, which is why no one takes his rush up before that drop pass seriously. They’re just waiting for Kane to get it.
How does it affect the lineup? My first guess would be it sends Dennis Gilbert back to the muck where he came from and belongs. I would not be surprised if it actually knocks Gustafsson out of the lineup, simply because if you have Gus and Boqvist in the lineup at the same time, your penalty kill would only have four d-men on it. Although the Predators do that. So do a couple other teams. You can get away with it if those four D-men are good. Maybe when Murphy is healthy again (for the limited time things stay that way), you can get away with Murphy, Keith, de Haan and Maatta killing penalties, I don’t want to think about it.
Ideally, your pairings by Thanksgiving will be:
That’s almost representative!
I would imagine Gustafsson will be traded at some point this season, just because he’s not earning a contract right now in free agency and if he eventually does, the Hawks can’t or won’t afford him. Maybe Seabrook will be too now, who knows?
Anyway, the now. Are there going to be shifts and whole games where Boqvist looks terrible? Absolutely. There are going to be shifts and games where he’s the best show in town. A lot of these are going to cross-over into the same game. But the Hawks need it.
The Hawks have made it clear the next three years are what matter here. Dach is here to stay. Boqvist is up. The movement to the next generation has started. Ride the snake.