Matt Boldy was able to just get a slight taste of what being in the NHL is like during the 2021 postseason. Practicing with the team after making his professional debut in Iowa just a month or so earlier, Boldy received cries to get in the lineup when the Minnesota Wild’s offense seemed to dry up in that first round against the Vegas Golden Knights, but he remained just going through the off-day motions of the top hockey league in the world.
But now, a handful of months later and Boldy is set to make his NHL debut eventually and it might be immediately.
The Wild released their lineup for the third preseason game, Monday’s contest against the Colorado Avalanche and it’s basically Boldy surrounded by established players whose names have been etched into stone for the NHL roster.
The best part is that he doesn’t even stick out like an odd casting. He’s there and he just simply belongs there.
In their previous game he got the experience of playing alongside Frederick Gaudreau and Kevin Fiala, looking for some sort of chemistry and characteristic matchup that works well together. Even though he went pointless, he still got heralded by coaching staff as “really good.”
Boldy was a question mark, along with other high-end rookies like Marco Rossi and Calen Addison, but neither of those players have been thrust into the training camp group with the rest of the regulars as quickly and for as long as the 20-year-old from Millis, Mass. It’s certainly not a knock on those two players — as they will most likely see their debuts or regular starts, start to form later in the season — but Boldy has been here from the beginning and clearly belongs to be with the Big Guys. Hell, he scored 18 points in 14 games as a teenager in the AHL, immediately after he played in college and the World Juniors, appearing to not lose any step to fatigue.
Maybe this is just one last little tryout on Monday, with the established guys, but considering that head coach Dean Evason wants to keep a core of guys as the regular roster together as soon as possible, and head up to Duluth for a team-bonding trip beginning next Sunday with those players, this feels like they have already decided on the final roster with still 12 days until they open the season against the Anaheim Ducks.
He might not get the same responsibility as Kirill Kaprizov did as a rookie, but there’s room to grow and he’s just so damn good.