The majority of the Minnesota Wild’s second line has received their final season grades with the exception of rookie Matt Boldy. He joined the team in January when they were down a number of players and remained on the roster throughout the rest of the season. He played a little over half of the Wild’s regular-season games finishing up with 47 games played.
Boldy made a huge impact on the lineup, so much so that it only took a few games for the coaching staff to decide to keep him on the roster indefinitely which ended up being the rest of the season. He also played in all six of their postseason games, which is something to be pretty proud of as a rookie. His line did struggle, but he did the best he could to motivate both his team and line with his play.
Boldy Makes Roster
This past season, all the attention that wasn’t given to the guaranteed roster was mostly given to Marco Rossi. It was well earned; Rossi worked very hard to get to where he was, but only a few people saw Boldy coming in as strongly as he did, as he ended up scoring 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points. Those points were good enough for ninth place in scoring amongst his teammates and the top-performing rookie on the roster as well.
Of those 15 goals, three of them were on the power play as he ended the season with a total of 10 points while a man up. He worked his way onto the second power-play unit during the season and even snuck onto the top unit a few times. Boldy scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game, which came against the Boston Bruins. Obviously being a rookie, he had a lot of firsts this season, but some that most players don’t see until they’ve been in the league a little while.
One of those firsts was his first hat trick which came a little over a month after his first game and goal. It came against the Detroit Red Wings on Valentine’s Day and it ended up being a four-point night as he tallied an assist that night as well. While Boldy did well offensively, he contributed defensively too. In the 47 games he played, he had 24 blocked shots and 27 takeaways, not big numbers but respectable especially as a rookie.
Boldy Shows Promise in Postseason
Unfortunately for Boldy, he was on the line that was expected to help carry the team and couldn’t muster the goals to do so. His line had five points total and he tallied one of them. He scored the Wild’s second goal of the game and got them within one in Game 4. They went on to lose that game but he was able to show his potential. It was surprising he didn’t score more goals, as he had 13 shots throughout the series and was fifth on the team in that particular stat.
His defensive game in the postseason shouldn’t be overlooked either. Boldy had three blocked shots, which don’t seem like a lot, but it was still three shots that didn’t make it to his goaltender. He tied for second on the team in takeaways with six. Out of the three players on his line, he should shoulder the least amount of blame for what happened.
Being a rookie in the postseason can be very rough, as even teammate Kirill Kaprizov didn’t shine as well as everyone thought he would when he was a rookie in the playoffs last season. Boldy was able to at least get on the scoreboard, even though it was just one goal. Now he knows what it’s like to play in the postseason, and how the game gains another level.
Boldy’s Final Grade
Boldy’s final grade may be a little easier considering this was his first-ever season in the NHL and he did very well. He was the glue that brought that whole second line together and really helped Kevin Fiala find his scoring stride. He also won’t be docked as much for his playoff results due to the fact that he continued to push until the very end. With everything factored in, he has earned an A.
How did he earn higher than Kaprizov you may ask? It was just slightly above an A- but Boldy earned some extra points with the records he set that used to belong to Kaprizov and the postseason result didn’t hit his grade as hard as the others due to his rookie status. In the regular season, he tied Kaprizov’s record for most assists in a season with 24 and he did it in fewer games. He also set a new record for most points for a rookie in a single game with four; there were a number of other players tied at three including Kaprizov.
Lastly, Boldy set a couple of records for longest streaks by a rookie including a 10-game point streak where he accumulated 12 points. The second was the longest streak with assists and he has both the top spot with a five-game, five-assist streak as well as the second spot with a four-game, four-assist streak.
Overall, he earned that A because of his work ethic. He came in halfway through the season and showed just the beginning of his true potential. He’s a gifted goal scorer that has great chemistry with his linemates. This offseason will show if that line can return next season, but if not, Boldy can still make it work with just about anybody. It’s going to be exciting to see what he can do next.