Boqvist amazes, Nylander underwhelms at Blackhawks’ development-camp scrimmage
The red team, led by Adam Boqvist, defeated the white team, led by Kirby Dach, 6-5 in the final event of camp week.
Josiah Slavin had a hat trick and Antti Saarela added two goals, but it was Adam Boqvist’s nonstop magic that lifted the red team to a 6-5 victory against the white team in the Blackhawks’ prospect scrimmage Friday at Fifth Third Arena.
Boqvist looked like an NHL All-Star disguised as an 18-year-old, flashing through the white team’s defense with silky handles and brilliant vision all morning long.
He set up Slavin’s first goal with an end-to-end rush that set the tone. He continued to cycle around the offensive zone, leaving pursuers disoriented and dumbfounded, throughout the scrimmage.
The only person to whom Boqvist’s showing wasn’t particularly exciting, especially when considering his unlikely but growing opportunity to make the Hawks’ 2019-20 roster, was Boqvist himself.
‘‘Probably not,’’ Boqvist said when he was asked whether he’d watch the highlight reel of himself. ‘‘I’m just going to go back and have a nap. I’m pretty tired.’’
Boqvist, the eighth overall selection of the 2018 draft, always has been known as an offensively inclined defenseman, but he was stellar in his own zone, too.
Right before his rush to set up Slavin, Boqvist made a pinpoint saucer pass to defensive partner Nicolas Beaudin to break a white-team forecheck.
‘‘His progression over this past year was phenomenal, [with] the steps that he took with the defensive habits in his game,’’ Hawks director of player development Mark Eaton said. ‘‘I’ve always said that he’s underrated in that aspect. . . . He’s such a smart player that it’s not just one side. He’s not just smart offensively.’’
Center Kirby Dach, the Hawks’ 2019 first-round pick, was impressive, too, showing off his beyond-his-years strength and physicality on top of his own dazzling array of puckhandling moves.
He jump-started the white team’s comeback from a 4-0 deficit with a breakaway goal, then teamed with linemate Mathias From — a less-expected standout — for the second-prettiest goal of the day.
‘‘I‘ve always kind of had a detail-oriented mind, where I always want the puck and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get it back,’’ Dach said. ‘‘If somebody takes the puck from me or if I turn it over, then it’s my responsibility to get that puck back.’’
Recently acquired forward Alex Nylander, meanwhile, disappointed in the scrimmage despite looking good earlier in the week.
Nylander looked a step behind the play defensively — his lack of speed and stamina were frequent criticisms during his tenure with the Sabres — and he seemed to be trying to do too much offensively, although he did produce a couple of good looks in the third period.
Among the goalies, Devin Cooley struggled, but Zackarias Skog impressed.
Brandon Hagel, Cole Moberg and Kyle Olson scored the other goals.