Blackhawks defensive prospect Adam Boqvist

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Q&A: Hawks' Boqvist Just Wants To Be Himself

"I feel more comfortable," Adam Boqvist says.

Jay Zawaski
July 17, 2019 - 5:33 pm

(670 The Score) On Tuesday afternoon, I had the opportunity to interview Blackhawks top defensive prospect Adam Boqvist, who was fresh off the ice from an impressive performance during drills at camp. He won some one-on-one and two-on-one battles with the likes of No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach and newly acquired winger Alex Nylander.

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Based on what I saw, I focused the interview on the improvements to the defensive elements of Boqvist's game. Here's a look at his thoughts on where he stands in his progression after the Blackhawks selected him at No. 8 overall in the 2018 draft. Boqvist will turn 19 in August.

JZ: This is your second prospects camp with the Blackhawks. What feels different for you this time?

AB: "I feel more comfortable. The first time, I was, of course, nervous and excited, and now I know how to practice and how the staff and how everything works. I try to do my best out there and show them how I’ve improved in the summer. I’m trying to take as much information (from the coaches) that I can."

JZ: Now that you’ve been around a year and you’re around all these prospects, do you feel a bit of a leadership role in this camp? I know once you get to training camp and Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook are there, it’s different, but for you here, do you take on a bit of a leadership role at all?

AB: "I don’t think about that. I just try to be myself. That’s the only thing I can do. There are a couple of new guys here, so I try to help them and push them and of course be a leader."

JZ: What specific part of your game has improved the most from this camp last year to now?

AB: "I improved my defense. I know the last couple of years, it wasn’t good. It’s hard when you go out there, you have to think ‘defense’ all the time. But it’s (second nature) now, so I can just go out there and play the best I can."

JZ: You’ve been working with Brian Campbell, who grew his defensive game as his career went along. Is that someone you try to model your game after?

AB: "Of course. I didn’t watch him that much, because I was too young when he played, but I watch now after (his career) and he was an unbelievable player. At the end of the day, I want to be like Adam Boqvist. I want to take everything in and do it the best I can out there."

JZ: The Blackhawks added some defensemen this offseason, making it tougher for you to make the team. Is that a challenge for you or does it take some pressure off because you don't have to come in and contribute right away?

AB: "No. It’s exciting to be here. I’m just trying to do my best out there. At the end of the day, it’s up to the staff where I’m going to play."

JZ: What do you think you need to show this coaching staff to make the team?

AB: "Just be myself. I’m here because I’m Adam Boqvist, and I’m just going to be my best."

Boqvist’s answers were short, as English is his second language, but one aspect that the text doesn’t reflect is his level of confidence in himself. It’s not arrogance -- it’s belief. It shows on the ice as well. With the Blackhawks' defense seemingly set for opening day, it’s going to be tough for Boqvist to crack the roster, but it’s clear he wants to make it a difficult decision for the team.

Jay Zawaski is the executive producer of the Bernstein & McKnight Show on 670 middays from 9 a.m. to noon and a columnist for 670 The Score. He's also the co-host of the Madhouse Chicago Hockey Podcast, which is available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or your preferred podcast app. Follow him on Twitter @JayZawaski670.​​​