New Jersey Devils: Jesper Boqvist Proves Again He Deserves Spot In Lineup

New Jersey Devils center Jesper Boqvist (70) skates with the puck during the second period against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils center Jesper Boqvist (70) skates with the puck during the second period against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New Jersey Devils have been trying something different with the lineup. Head coach Lindy Ruff has been trying a lineup with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. That means one of the forwards was going to be the odd man out. For the most part, that was Jesper Boqvist.

So, when it was confirmed that Ruff was going back to 12 forwards, the logical move was to add Boqvist back into the lineup. He did not waste his opportunity. In just 12 minutes at 5v5, Boqvist had the highest CF% of any forward (15 chances for, 7 chances against). Boqvist was on the ice for the Devils only 5v5 goal, and he played a major part in screening Igor Shesterkin as Erik Haula tipped it home.

There are a few players who have earned spots in the lineup when healthy. Nathan Bastian is a player who was getting healthy scratched earlier in the season, but the Devils desperately need him back as soon as possible. Boqvist is on that short list again. His performance on Thursday night shows that he is an every night player.

Boqvist was given zero offensive zone starts. He still contributed more on the offensive end than his opponents. This is the role he is going to play in the playoffs. Ruff loves having a line he can rely on to shut down the other. Boqvist, Haula, and Tomas Tatar give him a very safe line to play against the top offensive talent of the opponents.

The 24-year-old proved himself in the biggest game of the season. That is going to carry a ton of weight when Ruff is making lineup decisions in the playoffs. The Devils are going to play the lineup that’s going to give them the best chance to win.

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When Bastian returns, someone else is going to come out of the lineup. It will be an interesting decision for Ruff. Yegor Sharangovich is still an option, but he’s playing well too. We know one thing. Jesper Boqvist needs to be in this lineup on a nightly basis.