Why Blackhawks Colliton wants to see a more fit Boqvist next season
Adam Boqvist's season is over after the Blackhawks defenseman broke his wrist during a 7-4 loss to Tampa Bay Tuesday.
The 20-year-old had a decent campaign, with 2 goals and 14 assists in 35 games. He was also a staple on the No. 1 power play unit.
Coach Jeremy Colliton -- rarely one to be critical of his players publicly -- left no doubt Boqvist needs to work on his fitness level.
"(The injury is) going to put a bit of a crimp in his workout plans, but he's got to do everything he can to improve his conditioning, so that he can play at his highest level for longer," Colliton said. "He's improved a lot this year. I think just the overall fitness that he can bring, that's going to help him a lot."
Boqvist played 20 or more minutes six times, all of them coming after March 18. There were times, however, that he appeared gassed at the end of shifts as he was beat to loose pucks and allowed scoring opportunities to develop.
"He's 20 years old and it takes time to learn how hard you have to train and what kind of condition you need to be in to defend at a high level, especially when you're not a huge body," Colliton said.
"There's a different level of conditioning that he needs to get to. ...
"You want to be 50 seconds into your shift and get a stop and be able to skate the puck out of trouble. That's the type of fitness we need."
Boqvist played 17 or fewer minutes 15 times (not including two games in which he was injured). He also missed 11 games while in COVID protocol and three more while dealing with a concussion.
Colliton did praise Boqvist for sparking one of the best power-play units in the league and reminded everyone that the second-year D-man still hasn't played in his 100th NHL game.
"When he hasn't been on the power play, it's affected us," Colliton said. "He's a very young player in terms of defensemen in the league. He's really just getting started. A lot of guys aren't even close to making their debuts and he's got almost 80 games."