As the Bruins added notable names and more minor moves during the first few weeks of free agency, they had shifted gears to their RFA’s, signing Jakub Lauko, Ian Mitchell, and Marc McLaughlin. Now, they brought in free agent Jesper Boqvist on a one-year contract.
The contract itself is very low risk, as it’s a one-year pact worth $775,000. Boqvist hit the open market after not being qualified by the New Jersey Devils, and he’ll be an RFA with arbitration rights at the end of 2023-2024.
Boqvist is a center and left wing, but his faceoff numbers down the middle are poor, so the Bruins are probably better off keeping him on the wing unless circumstances necessitate a need down the middle.
This type of player is a move the Bruins made earlier in the offseason when they signed Morgan Geekie, and even recent signing Jayson Megna can play any forward spot. McLaughlin and John Beecher could also be options the Bruins can use at the NHL level this season when they need to.
Boqvist is coming off his fourth season in the NHL, all with the New Jersey Devils. He put up 21 points last year in the form of 10 goals and 11 assists, averaging 11:36 of ice time while playing 70 regular season games. His playoffs were a struggle, going pointless in six games with a -2 rating.
A former second-round pick out of Finland in 2017, the 24-year-old Boqvist has spent his entire career with the Devils. He has 28 goals and 27 assists with a -17 rating while averaging 11:52 of ice time per game over the course of 189 regular season games.
Boqvist’s development in New Jersey had seemingly hit a wall, as he was never able to consistently put it together for a long stretch. That led to him not receiving a qualifying offer, which put him on the open market and now he’s the newest member of the Bruins.
This move is another low-risk play by the front office, but one that has intriguing upside, just like Geekie earlier in the offseason. The addition of Pavel Zacha, while not entirely equal, was a similar upside play and it worked out great for player and team. Hopefully the same happens here.