With pending contract issues looming for players like Kevin Fiala and Matthew Dumba this past summer, the Minnesota Wild invested in youth. The hope is that players within the system could step in and help elevate the Wild to bigger and better.
One of the players in question is center Matt Boldy. The 12th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Boldy figured heavily into the Wild plans for 2022-23. The question is how the second-year center would do.
Where does he stack up so far with the other youngsters, rookies included? And how can he help the Minnesota Wild in the NHL odds 2022?
HAT TRICK! MATT BOLDY!! 🎩🎩🎩 pic.twitter.com/D0VxvuUws1
— NHL (@NHL) February 15, 2022
Boldy in 2021-22
Entering the 2021-22 season, there were high expectations for Boldy. Granted, he was never going to be the kind of dynamic player that shows up on the highlight reel with regularity – like his teammate Kirill Kaprizov – his game is perfect for the NHL.
His high hockey IQ, good skating, and versatility are what made him such a high pick, to begin with. In 47 games throughout the 2021-22 season, Boldy showed off those abilities in a promising way. He posted 15 goals, 24 assists, and 39 points while playing an occasional top-six role.
For that reason, Boldy became a focal point heading into the 2022-23 season. The aforementioned Fiala, due to a new contract, was shown the door via trade. The Wild then turned to Boldy to fill in those shoes, stepping into regular top-six action.
Matt Boldy is skating in his 50th career game and his point total through those contests is one shy of the most among active U.S.-born skaters.#NHLStats: https://t.co/2RiLhjvlN4 pic.twitter.com/JODKll292Q
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 18, 2022
Boldy So Far This Season
Though streaky, Boldy has been as advertised for a Wild team that has been struggling out of the gate. At 5-5-1, the Wild aren’t quite living up to expectations, but that is largely due to secondary scoring and goaltending issues.
Boldy, meanwhile, has been quite good in stretches. In 11 games, Boldy has 6 goals and 10 points. The issue is that he delivers in bunches. Over his last 5 games, he had a pair of multi-point games but had zero points in the other three showings.
His ice time has also fluctuated. He has shown greater consistency of late, seeing 20 minutes of ice or more per game compared to the 16-17 minutes he average previously. At just 21 years old, Boldy has been asked to step into a crucial role for the Wild and has not failed to deliver.
Though the season is still quite young, there is a lot to like about what Boldy is showing. He is playing in key roles, producing at a near point-per-game clip, and filling in the top center role as they had hoped. At 21 years old, there is a hope that he will develop the consistency needed to become an elite player for the Wild.
— NHL (@NHL) October 14, 2022
Coming into the season, there were two rookies worth keeping an eye on. Calen Addison, a defenseman, and Marco Rossi, a centerman, were set to be two of the featured rookies for the Wild this year.
Rossi, the 9th overall pick in 2020, hasn’t quite taken hold as the team hoped. Undersized but extremely skilled, Rossi has shown flashes at times. At 21 years old, he needs further development before he can become the kind of player the Wild had hoped for. In 10 games, he has just 1 assist, averaging 12 minutes of ice time per night in a mostly bottom-six role.
Addison, meanwhile, showed great promise in the AHL last year. He managed to crack the top six of the Wild defense this year and has not disappointed. Though he has a concerning -8 (due partially to lacking team defense and goaltending), his 7 assists in 11 games show his offensive ability. He is the kind of smooth skater that will become a fixture for the Wild for years.
Finally, there is Mason Shaw. A late-round pick, Shaw has been an overachiever each step of the way. He recently received a call-up to the Wild and has appeared in a half-dozen games since then.
Matt has managed a pair of goals and an assist in just under 12 minutes of ice time per game, making the most of his time on the ice. He has the drive and ability that can make him an effective bottom-six player sooner rather than later.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) October 22, 2022
Boldy is the Best
Given the competition and his early penchant for scoring in bunches, it is clear that Boldy is the best young player on the Wild. He will require consistency before he can be elevated to the same level as Kaprizov, but he is on his way.
Boldy doesn’t have the jump-off-the-page talent to match up with Kaprizov, but can become more of the smart, productive type that every team needs. Boldy has a lot of developing to do but has shown the tools needed to become a crucial contributor to the Wild for years to come.
Boldy-locks and the three goals 🚨🚨🚨
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 15, 2022