Friday, August 9, 2019

31 Teams in 31 Days - Chicago Blackhawks

The Windy City!

1. Adam Boqvist - London Knights
Man, can this kid be an exciting player to watch because of his offensive gifts. His skating is top notch and is a real asset in transition. He is ultra aggressive in jumping up in the play, constantly buzzing and moving his feet to try to get himself in position to receive the puck. His shot is also a major asset. He can absolutely fire the puck and has a really quick and explosive release for a defender. This catches OHL goaltenders by surprise a lot because he doesn't give them time to set up, especially when he opens up those shooting lanes with his mobility. From an offensive point of view, the sky is the limit for Boqvist. From a defensive point of view, I was often left pretty underwhelmed. Nearly everything about his defensive game will need to improve if he wants to take a regular 5 on 5 shift at the NHL level. His physical engagement level in the defensive end is relatively low and he can be way too passive when it comes to denying zone entries or allowing attackers room in the middle of the ice. He also relies solely on his mobility to come away with pucks in the corners. If he doesn't beat forecheckers clean and can escape, he has trouble winning those one on one battles. Boqvist can also be caught puck watching a lot and really needs to do a better job of covering the slot and the front of the net with his stick to take away passing lanes. All this said, I do not expect Boqvist to return to the OHL next year. But I also do not think that he is ready to defend at the NHL level and will need time in the AHL to really bring out the best of his abilities. He will likely always be a higher risk, higher reward type of defender who will need a steady defensive partner, but growth is still required.

2. Mackenzie Entwistle - Guelph Storm
I like to compare Entwistle to a swiss army knife. Whatever job needs done, he can do it. He can line up at any forward position (although may profile best as a winger at the next level). He can be a net front presence on the powerplay. He can anchor your penalty kill. He can be out there whether you're one goal down or one goal up. Because of his size and skating ability, he operates well in transition, but also excels when the game slows down and has the work ethic to grind out scoring chances. I think he thinks the game really well and is going to be the type that should move quickly through the pro system because coaches will love him. There's a reason why he just won back to back OHL titles with Hamilton and Guelph and was a key contributor in both cases. Will he be a top 6 forward? Not likely. His shot and overall puck skill will likely never be at a high enough level. But could he be an Austin Watson, Brian Boyle kind of player with a very long NHL career? Absolutely and I'd be shocked otherwise.

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