Carolina Hurricanes: The Curious Case of Dominik Bokk

Jun 22, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Dominik Bokk poses for a photo with team representatives after being selected as the number twenty-five overall pick to the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 22, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Dominik Bokk poses for a photo with team representatives after being selected as the number twenty-five overall pick to the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Going into the 2019 offseason, the Carolina Hurricanes were faced with a dilemma. Long-time right-handed defenseman Justin Faulk was needing a new contract and when the two sides met at the 2019 NHL Draft, they weren’t close. Carolina felt more comfortable going into the season without a contract extension but Faulk and agent Brian Bartlett wanted the security of a new contract. Waddell, at the press conference for this trade, mentioned that “the offer they agreed to with St. Louis was too good to pass up.”

The package the Carolina Hurricanes acquired for the longest-tenured Hurricanes player and leader in points for a defenseman in franchise history was enforcer defenseman Joel Edmundson, a 2021 seventh-round pick, which I’ll get into another time and the main piece, which was the 25th pick in the 2019 NHL draft, German-born winger Dominik Bokk.

In the year before he was draft eligible, Bokk was seen as a scoring winger that had a high ceiling on offense with his quick shot and good passing abilities. But he also had some issues with his skating, having more of a choppy stride which led to some issues, as well as not being up to other forward prospects in the class defensively, as most of the time he’d rather poke check instead of fully stepping into his man.

But his work ethic was pretty good and he just put up 34 goals to go along with 37 assists for 71 points in 41 games in the DNL, Germany’s top junior league. This would be good enough to win DNL’s Forward of the Year award in 2016-2017.

He decided that in his draft year, he would try and go for a tougher challenge to show scouts that he could handle a higher level of difficulty in a higher league. He chose the SHL, joining the Vaxjo Lakers U18 team. He played one game at the U18 level, scoring 2 goals for them. Quickly moving up to the U20 Vaxjo Lakers side, this is where Bokk would play the majority of his draft year.

In 35 games, he would have 14 goals and 27 assists for 41 points in 35 games. He also played in 8 playoff games, adding 5 goals to go along with 6 assists for 11 points. Bokk did end up getting some experience with the SHL Vaxjo team, scoring 1 goal and 1 assist for two points in 15 games. (His first SHL goal can be found below, assisted by current Vancouver Canuck Elias Pettersson)

This production and Bokk’s immense offense upside would lead him to be drafted 25th overall in the 2018 NHL draft by the St. Louis Blues. He would stay with Vaxjo Lakers for another season and did pretty well, adding 8 goals to go along with 15 assists for 23 points in 47 games. He did play a little in the SHL playoffs, putting up 2 goals and a lone assist in only 6 games as Vaxjo was bounced in the first round.

During this period of time, German youth hockey had been struggling, being stuck in Division 1 (one division away from the World Juniors) since 2016. Bokk would help lead the 2019 Germany U20 team to first place in Division 1, bringing them to the first World Juniors since 2015.

The St. Louis Blues would loan Bokk to Rogle BK for the season about 4 months before they traded him to the Carolina Hurricanes and he would stay there for the whole season. Bokk would have 11 goals and 6 assists for 17 points in 45 games.

This would be the beginning of a frustrating 2 years for people following Bokk’s development as he would play meaningless 4th line minutes for basically the whole year, never really having a chance to play higher up in the lineup even when producing.

But, Bokk would turn heads once again when the World Juniors rolled around because of his play, scoring 6 goals to go along with 2 assists for 8 points in 7 games. Including this absolute beauty against the Czech Republic

That was Bokk’s second goal of the game, his first one is also nothing to laugh at.

This is why the 2019-2020 season was so frustrating for Bokk. He absolutely tore up the World Juniors and when he went Rogle BK, he started his season with 8 goals in 11 games. But a dry spell led him to get basically 8-10 minutes of ice time a night which is super detrimental to any prospect.

The start of the 2020-2021 season was mostly the same for Dominik Bokk. Start the season playing higher up in the lineup, this time for Djurgardens in the SHL. Put up minimal points in minimal ice time (2 goals and an assist in 20 games) and be disappointed as it seems like his development has stalled heavily and you are left wondering where he goes from here. The answer would be finally making his debut on North American ice as Bokk would come over to play for the Chicago Wolves in the AHL.

Bokk would put together a pretty solid year for his first playing time on NA ice. In 29 games for the Chicago Wolves, Bokk would put up 9 goals and 9 assists for 18 points in a half year for all AHL players. But some of Bokk’s goals were something to behold, especially this one from him against the Iowa Wild

As well as this goal against the Wild about a month earlier, juuuuuuuuuuuuuuussssstttttt squeaking through the five-hole

All the tools are there for Bokk and it seems like last year he finally started to put them together. Leading up to this year, he had the opportunity to play for the Carolina Hurricanes at the prospects tournament. He played pretty well, scoring a goal in regulation as well as one in the shootout on a nifty backhand shot. He got sent down to the Chicago Wolves on October 2nd and a full year of AHL games should do absolute wonders for his development.

Bokk has legit upside, but it’s always been the question of “can he put it all together?” His shot, his playmaking and his hands are all there but can he get it all together. He’ll be one of the many young players for the Chicago Wolves this upcoming year that you should pay attention to.

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