After last night's 5-3 win at Vegas, the Blackhawks knew they would have a decision to make on the blue line. Connor Murphy, who has been on injured reserve since October 23rd with a groin injury, is eligible to return for the Hawks' next game in Nashville on Saturday night. This morning, the team announced that rookie defenseman Adam Boqvist would be the odd man out.
Boqvist, who was recalled on October 31st, recorded one goal and ten shots while playing 14:27 average TOI over six games with the Blackhawks. He recently saw his minutes dip, as he played a season-low 12:18 against Vancouver last Thursday and 12:33 against Toronto on Sunday before logging 14:44 in last night's contest.
While the young defenseman brings an exciting offensive game that fans would have liked to continue to see at the highest level, Boqvist simply needs to be playing more for the sake of his development. The coaching staff could have played him more, but balancing development while also trying to get back into the thick of the standings is a difficult task. Boqvist will undoubtedly play upward of 20 minutes on a nightly basis back in Rockford, as opposed to low-teen totals with the Hawks.
Sending Boqvist back down to Rockford also helps the Blackhawks on the books. Playing in under nine games means that the first year of Boqvist's entry-level contract has not been burned yet. The Hawks also needed to make a move to become cap compliant because Murphy's return would have put them over the limit without making another move.
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