The Devils’ Public Relations department today put out a press release on the official website saying that the Devils and Jesper Boqvist have agreed to terms on an entry level contract (ELC). The contract is for three years.
Boqvist is a 20-year-old forward who played the last two years from 2017-18 to 2018-19 with Brynas IF of the Swedish Hockey League. Last season, his first full professional season in the SHL, he had a career high 13 goals, 22 assists for 35 total points. He also recorded 14 penalty minutes over his 51 games. He was in the top 20 in goals, top 16 in assists in the SHL and ended up “tied for second in points by players under the age of 21” all according to the press release put out by the Devils.
In total, he played in 98 SHL games, recording “16 goals and 39 assists for 55 points and 20 penalty minutes with a +13 rating. He added one goal and one assist for two points in 20 SHL playoff games” according to the presser.
The press release goes on to say that Boqvist is a 6-foot, 180-pound “native of Falun, Sweden” and won a silver medal at the 2016 Under-18 World Junior Championship in Grand Forks, North Dakota. There, he played with Jesper Bratt on Team Sweden. The release said that he had two goals and an assist for three points in the seven games Sweden played there.
At the 2018 Under-20 World Junior Championship, he again won the silver with Sweden. In that tournament, he played with Fabian Zetterlund, who the press release notes is a recently-signed Devils’ prospect. In this tournament, he had a goal and a plus-3 rating in six games.
The press release noted that Adam Boqvist, Jesper’s younger brother, was taken by the Blackhawks in the first round (eighth overall) in last year’s Draft. Jesper was the Devils’ second round pick (36th overall) in 2017.
Boqvist also did a Q&A with Amanda Stein on the Devils’ website as well. In that interview, Boqvist told Stein that he is excited about signing with the Devils as it is “one step closer” to being in the NHL and that is “fun for [him] to think about.”
He also told Stein that the NHL was always his “ultimate goal” but that it was fun playing with Brynas IF in the SHL because that was his “favorite team growing up.” Now, however, he is focused on playing for the Devils and that is his dream now.
He said that he “was given a pretty big role on [Brynas IF]” in that he “played on the top line and the top power-play [unit]” and that that was a huge learning experience for him. He told Stein that the thing he learned the most from last season in the SHL was that playing against older competition showed him how strong pro players are and that you have to think the game smarter at that level. He joked that you also “need to play without the puck, too!”
When asked by Stein who he saw as his role model amongst Swedish players in the NHL, he said that Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals is one (he grew up cheering for him on Brynas IF). He also mentioned former Devil and current Boston Bruin Marcus Johansson as the other player that he admired the most.
When Stein asked what he is trying to show Devils management this summer at camp, Boqvist replied that he can “(h)opefully… bring some offensive upside and touches and just play my game.”
Stein then asked if being a part of the Devils, with a young and talented roster of prospects, is something that is exciting for him. He replied that it is and that he has been trying to follow as much of New Jersey’s games as he can from Sweden. He also hopes to “be part of [the young talent] soon.”
The interview followed up with talk about Jesper’s brother Adam, who Stein pointed out plays for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. Now that Jesper will be in North America, he will get to see his brother again. He joked that “right now, we’re just happy we both have phones!” He also said that it will be nice to be nearer to where Adam is playing. They had “always been on the same teams and city” but are now separated. So that will be nice for him.
Good luck to Jesper Boqvist as we head to Development Camp next month and, eventually, training camp in September.