On Jesper Boqvist's roster chances and teams checking in on Pavel Zacha
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I realize there is a lot of competition for roster spots – much more than in previous years – but I can’t shake the feeling Jesper Boqvist will force his way onto the New Jersey Devils.
From what I saw, he was one of the more impressive players during the 2019 Prospects Challenge. AGM Tom Fitzgerald echoed that sentiment, and Corey Pronman passed along the same message in a recent article at The Athletic
Scouts at the Buffalo tournament singled out Jesper Boqvist as a standout for New Jersey.
The Devils’ bottom-6 could still be good without Boqvist. I think he’d raise the ceiling fairly significantly, though.
With respect to Pavel Zacha, Wayne Simmonds, Miles Wood, Blake Coleman, and co., they are not plus-playmakers or dynamic puck carriers through the neutral zone. Boqvist is. If he can show that in the coming weeks, I think he’s going to take a job.
Speaking of Zacha, there was an interesting tidbit about him in Elliotte Friedman’s first 31 Thoughts column of the season
. Excerpt below.
There are teams out there who like Pavel Zacha, too. Monday’s mini-blowup had other GMs wondering if the Devils would trade him, although Tuesday’s treaty makes that unlikely. Two-way centre who kills penalties. Still young, room to evolve. Centres are hard to find.
I think holding onto Zacha is probably the right call. As disappointing as Zacha’s offensive game, or lack thereof, has been, he is an elite penalty killer and, at 22, there is still room for growth. There’s always the possibility he can become more efficient while playing almost exclusively against team’s 3rd and 4th lines. He is a nice piece to have if a top-9 center gets injured, too, and Zacha’s defensive prowess could get him extra work – at center or on the wing – while defending leads late in games.
With teams undoubtedly offering middling draft picks, or roster players with clear blemishes, it makes sense to keep the guy who brings elements to the table that the team doesn’t have an abundance of.
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