Jesper Boqvist Devils
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Boqvist continues to make a case for himself to remain a mainstay in New Jersey’s lineup.

The New Jersey Devils were extremely busy in their first week back from break. They played four games in Week 17 and actually looked much better than they had in some time, going 2-2-0 and even putting up a fight against tougher opponents.

This was especially impressive given how many roster issues the team had.

Jack Hughes entered COVID-19 protocol after returning from the All-Star Game, Jesper Bratt is day-to-day with an injury, Janne Kuokkanen was placed on IR, and Andreas Johnsson entered protocol on Sunday, when Hughes rejoined the team.

Even with so many players in and out, many Devils played consistently well throughout the week. Captain Nico Hischier was a scoring machine and was recognized for it. The NHL named him its third star of the week.

Hischier was the epitome of an offensive threat, but actually wasn’t even the Devils’ best player this week, a testament to how well he and his teammates did.

Multiple Devils looked even better but, shockingly, Jesper Boqvist was the best of all.

(Check out last week’s player of the week and honorable mentions here.)

Player of the Week: F Jesper Boqvist 

@ MTL: 1 G, 1 A
@ STL: 1 G
Average Game Score: 1.89
Average defensive impact: 0.56

Boqvist has been playing quite well for several weeks now and has been one of the team’s most underrated players. He took his already-solid play to the next level this week, standing out as the team’s absolute best player.

The 23-year-old scored two goals and an assist and was a top-five player for the Devils in each game this week.

His game against the Montreal Canadiens in which he scored a goal and notched an assist and recorded a Game Score of 4.14 was his best of the season.

Boqvist hasn’t been great in his own zone this season, but even improved in that regard this week.

Aside from a subpar defensive game against the St. Louis Blues, in which he scored a goal and was one of the team’s best players by the way, Boqvist was truly fantastic defensively this week.

As if all this wasn’t enough, Boqvist showed off his versatility this week, as well, playing as both a left winger and center.

Boqvist is taking his play in both zones to the next level and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify taking him out of the lineup.

He began the season as a guy who comes in as a replacement, but few are playing even as well as he and Boqvist completely deserves to play every night.

Honorable Mention #1: RHD Damon Severson 

@ OTT: 1 A
@ MTL: 2 A
@ STL: 2 A
vs. PIT: 1 A
Average Game Score: 1.45
Average defensive impact: 0.26

Honorable Mention #2: RHD Ryan Graves 

@ MTL: 2 A
Average Game Score: 1.42
Average defensive impact: -0.15

Honorable Mention #3: F Nico Hischier

@ OTT: 1 G
@ MTL: 1 G
@ STL: 2 G, 1 A
vs. PIT: 1 G
Average Game Score: 1.30
Average defensive impact: -0.17

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.