The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired defenseman Adam Boqvist last offseason in the blockbuster trade with the Chicago Blackhawks which sent Seth Jones the other way. In his debut season, Boqvist had a major impact on the team and appears to be one of the biggest pieces of their defensive core going forward. As a former first-round pick, he has very high potential and had the best season of his young NHL career during the 2021-22 season.
Details of Boqvist’s Contract Extension
On Wednesday, the Blue Jackets announced that they had signed the 21-year-old Swedish defenseman to a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value (AAV) of $2.6 million. As an offensively-minded defenseman, Boqvist is going to be a fairly polarizing player in Columbus. However, regardless of anyone’s personal opinion of his style of play, it’s impossible to argue that this isn’t a phenomenal contract for the team. According to CapFriendly, the most similar contracts to his new deal are the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Phillippe Myers and the Buffalo Sabres’ Henri Jokiharju. When comparing ability relative to age, Boqvist is certainly more valuable to his organization than either of the aforementioned, even though they are both legitimate NHL-level defensemen in their own right.
Boqvist has yet to play an entire 82-game season in the NHL, however, despite consistently improving with every passing season. The 2021-22 campaign saw him reach career-highs in goals, points, and games played. His defensive play was an obvious weakness in his game, though. However, as he gains more experience he’ll be able to improve that aspect and become a more complete player in the long run. He’s playing a role that is reminiscent of Blue Jackets’ current star defenseman Zach Werenski in his first couple of seasons at the professional level. When Werenski first debuted in the NHL, commentators often referred to him as a “rover” rather than a defenseman and as he aged, the defensive side of his game developed drastically.
Boqvist’s Future in Columbus
Although his new contract carries a fairly low cap hit, the Blue Jackets have committed to a future with Boqvist on their blue line. It’s not surprising considering the assets they gave up to bring him into town. However, an organization showing a player that they have enough confidence in them to commit for three years can be a massive motivating factor entering the next season and beyond. In the short term, he’ll be a regular in the top two defensive pairings. Towards the end of his new contract though, there’s a high chance he’ll be a top-pairing defenseman and still be below the age of 25 when he enters negotiations once again.
Boqvist still has a lot to learn at the professional level, but he certainly didn’t look out of place last season which can’t be said for many 20-year-old defensemen playing in the NHL. He has the potential to become a star, and although he shouldn’t reach his peak within the next three seasons, he’s going to make the Blue Jackets an exciting team to watch anyway.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has had a very busy, but impressive offseason to this point. Signing Boqvist is just a part of that. He also signed goaltender Daniil Tarasov to a contract earlier in the offseason, which our Mark Scheig believes has the potential to become the biggest goalie bargain in the league. There’s still a lot that can happen before opening night, but one thing is for certain; Boqvist is going to be suiting up for the Blue Jackets and bringing excitement to Nationwide Arena once again when October rolls around. Considering he’ll also be a restricted free agent at the expiration of this deal, that’ll be a positive for the foreseeable future as well.