New Jersey Devils: Jesper Boqvist Must Find A Spot Into This Lineup

Jesper Boqvist #90 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
Jesper Boqvist #90 of the New Jersey Devils (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

Heading into the preseason, it appeared as if Jesper Boqvist had a slim chance at cracking the New Jersey Devils opening night roster.  It was nothing against him as a player, rather, the additions of Wayne Simmonds and Nikita Gusev made Boqvist the odd man out.  Of course, this wasn’t the case. Boqvist had an excellent preseason and earned his spot on the roster, and made his case for a strong role on the top line and possibly even power play time.  Yet, this hasn’t happened.

After a disaster of a game against Winnipeg, Boqvist was inserted into the lineup the next night in Buffalo, on a pretty solid line with Gusev and Pavel Zacha. In his NHL debut, Jesper was on the ice for six chances created, two of which were of the high danger variety, highlighted by a special looking steal and near goal in the first period.  Overall, it was a good first career game. Yet, he hasn’t played since.

John Hynes’ mantra has always been “fast, attacking, and supportive.”  Jesper Boqvist exemplifies all of these traits. It’s not like the team is rolling and he doesn’t want to mess with the lines.  The lines look out of sync, lacking chemistry, and quite frankly, bad. Boqvist is surely a better option than Kevin Rooney, John Hayden, or Miles Wood getting pinned in the defensive zone all game.

What’s even worse than the 5v5 play is special teams.  The power play is yet to score a goal, and has simply looked awful.  In the preseason, Boqvist was on the ice for two power play goals, both of which were scored by him.  Anything is better than the man advantage right now, and adding the young Swede to one of the units could be the answer.

Boqvist will be an important piece of New Jersey’s forward core for many years to come.  The worst possible thing for his development is to have him eating popcorn in the press box.  Devils fans saw this happen first hand with DeBoer. We saw it with Jesse Puljujärvi in Edmonton.  Young players need to play. Seeing as he is not AHL eligible, it’s either he plays here in Jersey or goes back to Sweden.  And at this point, we’d rather see the latter happen. The thought of a player of Boqvist’s ability having his development ruined due to not playing is not a pleasant one.

Next. Is John Hynes Coaching For His Job?. dark

Many fans see Jesper Boqvist as a difference maker who can help get the team out of its skid.  What’s the worst that can happen by playing him? The team is not exactly playing well with him as a healthy scratch.  This is one of the reasons patience is wearing thin with John Hynes. For the present and the future of this hockey team, it is in the best interest of the coaching staff to play Jesper Boqvist.