The Blackhawks wrapped up their Development Camp with a scrimmage on Friday morning, so I made the trek up to Fifth Third Arena to get my first look at Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist in person. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed one bit.
Boqvist played on the top defensive pair for the red team, who ultimately prevailed by a score of 6-5, and Dach centered the top line for the white team. Boqvist provided the first round of fireworks in the scrimmage when he put on an absolutely filthy deke to move around a defender and set up Josiah Slavin with a wide-open net.
During the 3-on-3 segment of the first period, Kirby Dach made his presence known when he lifted the stick of Logan Ommen en route to the net and put on a quick backhand to forehand move to light the lamp.
Boqvist continued to showcase his offensive prowess in the second period. During this shift, he draws iron on the initial shot and then utilizes his playmaking ability to set up Reese Johnson in the slot, but the shot never got through.
Shortly after, he put on the moves while racing in from the blue line once again, but this time he was tripped up and awarded a penalty shot.
He didn’t convert on the opportunity because of a nice save by Zackarias Skog, but he showed some creativity in his approach.
Kirby Dach recorded an assist to set up a Kyle Olson goal and then finished the second period with a goal of his own during the 3-on-3 portion. His puck protection skills and ability to separate from defenders make the third overall pick so tough to play against.
It wasn’t all flashy offensive plays in this one, though. Both Boqvist and Dach made impressive plays in their own zones. In the clip below, Boqvist finds himself defending an odd-man rush and shuts it down beautifully.
Dach showed off his two-way game when he lost the puck in the offensive zone, but backchecked hard on Michal Teply to lift the stick and prevent a breakaway bid.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Blackhawks first-round draft picks from the past two years. Given the current roster construction, Dach will have to really impress the coaching staff and front office during Training Camp and preseason games to earn a spot on the team right away. On the other hand, Adam Boqvist is extremely close to donning the Indianhead sweater.
Of course, there are some snags with the number of Hawks defensemen currently under contract. However, if Boqvist keeps impressing like he did for the London Knights last season and during Development Camp this past week, it won’t be long before we see him manning the blue line at the Madhouse on Madison.