Matt Boldy, US National Team Development Program (USHL)
Position: Left Wing
Age on Draft Day: 18.22 Years Old
Height/Weight: 6’2, 192 pounds
2018-2019 Stats (USHL Only): 28 GP, 17 G, 26 A, 16 PIM
NHL Central Scouting (North America only): 9th
Craig Button: 7th
ISS Hockey: 8th
Bob McKenzie: 9th
Elite Prospects: 10th
Boldy is a skilled and intelligent winger who impacts the game in numerous ways.
It doesn’t show at first glance, but Boldy is an incredibly elusive player, especially for one of his size. He is shifty on his skates and sells defenders on taking the wrong stance with full-body feints. Despite lacking elite straight-line speed, Boldy is a player that a coaching staff wants to get plenty of touches on the puck because he is able to maneuver around defenders, find open space, and create offense. He’s adept at carrying the puck through the neutral zone and generating zone entries. He can create shooting opportunities for himself. He possesses nimble hands.
Playmaking wingers are becoming more commonplace in the NHL than they were, say, 20 years ago. Boldy is certainly more of a creator than a finisher. He’s very good at selling the idea of a shot before slipping the puck across the slot for a teammate. On odd-man rushes, he’s skilled at baiting defenders into mistiming their decisions, either drawing them to him or off their skates, thereby opening up a dangerous passing lane. Before he receives a puck, he’s constantly shoulder checking in anticipation what his next move will be. He’s constantly pushing the pace and plays a pretty direct style.
Boldy is a hard worker who takes care of his responsibilities on the other side of the puck. He’s a hustler who, thanks to his long, efficient strides, can eat up ice quickly. That means winning races to free pucks and also doing damage control on opposition transitions by backchecking.
He has enough scoring prowess to keep other teams honest and contribute his fair share to his line. Velocity is not his strong suit, but his soft hands translate well enough that he is able to flick quick shots on net. On the USA power play, he typically featured below the circles and scored a decent number of goals on at the backdoor.
There aren’t any major holes in Boldy’s game to speak of. Rather, the debate is about how high his upside is and whether his numbers are inflated due to a stacked USNTDP team; in particular, it’s a hell of a convenience that he got to play on Jack Hughes’ wing.
Does he perform equally well in lesser circumstances? No, probably not. But I don’t believe he’s a leech, either. He’s a very strong player in his own right who, again, works hard and creates offense on his own accord.
I used a picture of 2018 Joel Farabee for this profile because Boldy reminds me of Farabee, but not necessarily in terms of specific attributes. Boldy is a lot bigger and a better playmaker, whereas Farabee has a bit more of an edge to his game and scores more.
But they are similar in terms of circumstances and general outlook. Both benefitted greatly from playing on Jack Hughes’ wing. Both are versatile players who provide a nice combination of skill and competitiveness. Both probably don’t possess tremendous upside but are safe prospects who seem like mortal locks to make the NHL in some capacity.
I don’t envision Boldy being a top player, but I think he can be in that second wave of players who are the difference between a good or great team. A middle-six, maybe even bonafide second-line winger who can move up the lineup and fit in with superior linemates, or move down the lineup and be a superb third liner. He’ll play in all situations and help a team in a number of ways.
Boldy’s immediate fate will depend on how the draft develops around him, but his stock doesn’t appear to be particularly controversial. It would be pretty surprising to see him stray too far from the 8-13 range on draft day.
What Others Have Said
“With his rare mix of size and exceptional puck skills, Boldy has the tools to grow into a game-changing winger.”
- Chris Peters, ESPN
“He never overhandles the puck and he’s prepped and ready to attack, whether that’s the big shot, flipping a puck to himself or finding a teammate. To me he’s got to be one of the most exciting wingers of this draft.”
- USNTDP Head Coach John Wroblewski, via NHL.com