While much of the NHL Draft talk in recent months has focused on a small handful of names at the top of the first round, there is still a profusion of heavy lifting put in by every club’s scouting staff in an effort to be best prepared for the long weekend. Holding two picks among the first 22 selections (and three selections in the first 33), the LA Kings have to plan for multiple scenarios in Vancouver. Sure, it’s a good problem to have for a team with an aging core and a desire to generate a second wave of talent. It’s also a high-stakes conundrum requiring calculated assumptions while eyeing the future and trying to win in the present.
MayorsManor editor, John Hoven, discussed a few of the options available to GM Rob Blake during recent interviews on NHL Network Radio and TSN Radio — centered around the idea of potentially trading down from No. 5 and up from No. 22; measures designed to help accelerate the prospect build.
Matthew Boldy of the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) U-18 team is one such player who isn’t expected to go too early, but could very well receive interest from the Kings as the selection process moves outside of the top-10 picks in the opening round.
We recently covered the schedule of the USNTDP group as part of our Alex Turcotte profile, yet just to summarize – this is a team composed of the top US-born prospects, who play a collection of games against both the NCAA as well as the USHL. They’re also designed to compete in various international tournaments.
Date of Birth: April 5, 2001
Weight: 196 lbs
Position: Left Wing
Boldy spent his 2018-19 season on the USNTDP, where he scored 81 points (33 G, 48 A) in 64 games – good for fourth overall on his team. He had 12 points (3 G, 9 A) in seven tilts while representing Team USA in the U-18 World Championship, behind only Jack Hughes and Cole Caufield.
Just like Boldy’s U-18 performance was good enough for third overall on Team USA this year, Boldy had nine points (3 G, 6 A) in six contests while representing the United States on the U-17 team last year – also only trailing those two prolific goal scorers, Hughes and Caufield.
Commitment to College
At the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft, Boldy was a late round selection by the Halifax Mooseheads. However, playing in Major Junior hockey disqualifies one from playing in the NCAA. By staying with the USNTDP, Bolby has retained his college eligibility and appears poised to join the Boston College Eagles next season.
Some former Eagles who left the nest and at some point in their career played for the Kings include: Rob Scuderi, Brian Boyle, Jeff Giuliano, Peter Harrold, and Steve Heinze.
Boldy’s father, Todd, played for Maine in NCAA football. It was one of the few sports Boldy didn’t try when he was a kid; nonetheless, athletic genes are always helpful.
The Effect Of Competition
Boldy continues to produce despite the different levels of competition he played against this year:
USHL – 43 points (17 G, 26 A) in 28 games
International – 18 points (4 G, 14 A) in 17 contests
NCAA – 20 points (12 G, 8 A) in 19 games
Rankings by Independent Scouting Services
- 6th by The Draft Analyst, who wrote, “Much like Podkolzin, Team USA’s Matthew Boldy is an exceptional 200-foot player who sacrifices points in favor of proper positioning and consistently covering up for his risk-taking defensemen. A Boston College recruit, Boldy has a mature frame, powerful stride and excellent shot. He not only possesses one of the highest hockey IQ’s of any draft prospect, but comes across as a Patrice Bergeron type who could provide perennial Selke-caliber play.”
- 17th by Prospect Pipeline. In a separate article near the beginning of the season, they wrote: “Boldy has strong vision of the ice and can read plays to open himself up in quiet areas. He’s also a highly competitive player who isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas to generate offence. Boldy showcased a strong release with good accuracy and has some untapped goal-scoring upside. He is also a reliable, 200-foot winger who treats offence and defence equally. A good competitor with strong hockey sense, Boldy could be an underrated prospect for 2019.”
- 12th in the final rankings at McKeen’s Hockey. They admire the complete game Boldy brings, calling him a five-tool winger. He also received praise for his shot and puck skills, to go along with his size. Additionally, they noted even when he’s not scoring, Boldy provides a lot of value to his team.
See For Yourself
Here’s a great breakdown evaluating Boldy, along with a sequence of highlights:
Boldy appears to be one of the least talked about top prospects who combines size, versatility, IQ, two-way play, competitiveness, and results (regardless of the competition). Should the Kings select him, his commitment to play NCAA hockey would give the organization flexibility to let him marinate a little longer in college, rather than try his hand in the AHL or NHL, if they weren’t the appropriate level of competition for him in the immediate future.
NOTE: David Hofreiter was the lead contributor in the gathering of information used in this article. You can find him on Twitter @Davidenkness to talk more hockey.
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