Adam Boqvist, Columbus Blue Jackets, Editor's Choice, Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks

Sharks Should Target Adam Boqvist as Karlsson Replacement

A split between the San Jose Sharks and star defenseman Erik Karlsson is starting to feel more inevitable by the day. Considering he’s likely to go to a contending team looking to give up futures rather than current assets, it’ll be important to find a replacement for his spot on the roster. Right-handed defensemen are often one of the most difficult players to acquire as most teams are often looking for them rather than having expendable ones. One notable exception to this is the Columbus Blue Jackets who are currently experiencing a major logjam of defensemen, most notably right-shot ones. 

An Ideal Candidate

Looking at the defensemen on the Blue Jackets’ roster, the one they’d be willing to move that fits the mold best would undoubtedly be Adam Boqvist. He’s a 22-year-old offensive defenseman who contributes at a fairly high level for his age. Early in his career, there were many comparisons to Karlsson, especially when Boqvist was a member of the Chicago Blackhawks organization. They have essentially the exact same frame and Boqvist will only continue to get better as a player. The main concern for him will be his health as he continues to miss considerable amounts of time due to injury. With that being said, when he’s on the ice, he makes a difference. His defensive ability needs to improve as well; however, that was a major issue with Karlsson when he was at the same point in his career. 

Adam Boqvist Columbus Blue Jackets
Adam Boqvist, Columbus Blue Jackets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Contract-wise, Boqvist is much cheaper than Karlsson which will help manage the fact that they’ll likely have to retain salary when they trade the latter. He’s entering the second year of a three-year deal that carries an average annual value of $2.6 million. He’ll become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights upon the expiration of his current contract. There’s a lot of team control at this point and as a result, the Sharks would have a lot of flexibility on how they handle his future. 

Why Both Boqvist and the Sharks Will Benefit

The Blue Jackets have a very young defense, and although they’ve added some veterans in the offseason; that certainly hampers Boqvist’s role in their organization. With the Sharks, the sky will be the limit for him. He’ll have the opportunity to fight for top pairing ice time right from the start and he can certainly help on the power play as well. Learning from a veteran like Marc-Edouard Vlasic for the next three seasons would be helpful at this point in his career too. 

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For the Sharks, he fits the age group of many of the organization’s recent draft picks. At 22 years old, he’s only slightly older than William Eklund, Filip Bystedt, and Will Smith. He’d be an asset who could grow into a key part of the next core of the team once the veterans start to retire. Even at his young age, he’s about to enter his fifth season in the NHL as well. Boqvist is a proven asset and although there are question marks about certain aspects of his game, he’s the type of player who can have a major breakout season at any time.

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Boqvist’s a cheap, young player who has the potential to become a top offensive defenseman in the league if he can remain healthy and is given the right opportunity. The Sharks could definitely be the best organization for him to take his next step with; it’s difficult to say what the Blue Jackets would ask for in return but it should definitely be manageable given their current situation. General manager Mike Grier would be wise to look into bringing him in to bolster the organization’s future core.

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