Now that the NCAA is down to the Frozen Four, this is a busy time of year for college players to either sign with teams who drafted them or catch on via free agency. The Minnesota Wild kicked off a busy day by signing their 2019 first-round pick. The Chicago Blackhawks signed a pair of prospects, one they drafted and one they didn’t. Finally, the Florida Panthers have signed an exciting young goaltender.
Matt Boldy Signs His Pro Deal
The Wild wasted little time putting pen to paper with Boldy as his career with Boston College ended over the weekend. On Tuesday, Minnesota signed the 19-year-old forward to a standard three-year, entry-level contract that begins right away.
Boldy is coming off a huge sophomore season for Boston College. He scored 11 goals and 31 points in just 22 games. He led the team in goals, assists, overall points, power-play assists and shots on goal. He was also very effective on the penalty kill as he finished the season tied for the most shorthanded goals in the NCAA. He was named a Top Ten Finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, which is given to the best player in college hockey.
Minnesota drafted Boldy with the 12th overall pick of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He was assigned to the Iowa Wild in the American Hockey League (AHL), but there has been no word when he will make his professional debut.
Mike Hardman & Isaak Phillips Sign with the Blackhawks
The Blackhawks have been very busy over the past day. On Tuesday afternoon, they signed Hardman to a two-year, entry-level contract that comes with a $912,000 salary cap hit. He will begin his professional career at the NHL level as he was assigned to the Blackhawks’ taxi squad.
Hardman spent the last two seasons as a teammate of Boldy’s at Boston College. During his career with the Eagles, he had 22 goals and 44 points in 58 games. He spent the 2018-19 season with the West Kelowna Warriors in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), where he scored 39 goals and 72 points in 58 games.
General manager Stan Bowman wasn’t done there as he signed Phillips to a three-year, entry-level contract that kicks in at the start of next season. The Blackhawks drafted him in the fifth round (141st overall) in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Phillips spent the last two seasons with the Sudbury Wolves in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), where he put up 12 goals and 40 points in 131 games. He has had the chance to play with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL, with the OHL’s season still in limbo.
“I got an unexpected opportunity here and I made the most of it,” Phillips said about his stint in Rockford. “For me just getting in games and proving that I can play at the pro level and I showed that to them. I put some confidence in them and they obviously reciprocated that back to me.”
The 19-year-old defenseman has two goals and six points in his 14 games with the IceHogs this season.
Spencer Knight Goes Pro
Boston College had a hat trick of players get NHL contracts over the past day. Knight was the latest to ink a deal as he just signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Panthers.
“We are thrilled to have agreed to terms on a contract with Spencer,” said general manager Bill Zito. “He is an immensely talented and dynamic young goaltender who has been an elite player at every level that he has played. From the collegiate ranks to international tournaments, Spencer has consistently elevated his game, a testament to his work ethic, compete and character. We are excited for him to take the next step in his career with the Panthers and look forward to his future with our club.”
Knight, drafted 13th overall by the Panthers at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, dominated during the 2020-21 season. He was named both the Hockey East Player and Goaltender of the Year and is a finalist for the Mike Richter Award given to the best netminder in all of college hockey. He went 16-4-1 with a .932 save percentage (SV%), 2,18 goals-against average (GAA) and three shutouts at Boston College. He also led the United States to the gold medal at the World Junior Championship, going 5-1-0 with a .940 SV%, 1.63 GAA and three shutouts, including the championship game.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.