Welcome to this year’s Top 25 Under 25 series. If you’re unfamiliar, we’re going player-by-player in a ranking of the top 25 Minnesota Wild players that are under the age of 25. It’s fairly simple. Enjoy!
At number one on our Top 25 Under 25 list, there are no surprises to be found. While some might see players like Marco Rossi or Jesper Wallstedt with potentially higher ceilings, no one on our list has anywhere near the resume and production at the NHL level as one Matt Boldy.
Drafted 12th overall back in 2019, management seemed intent on taking it slow when it came to Boldy’s development. His offensive talent, his defensive instincts — developed beyond his years — and his ability to be immediately effective when transitioning from the NCAA to the AHL forced their hands and gave him the promotion to the big club at the beginning of January.
He’s got the size, the skill and the underrated ability to mesh with the stars he plays with, as he did with Kevin Fiala (R.I.P).
Starting with the AHL with the Iowa Wild last season, Boldy notched a tidy ten points in ten games, and two of his four goals came on the powerplay. After being promoted to the big club, it didn’t take him long to tally his first-career NHL goal — halfway through the second period of his first game — or his first career hat trick (against the Detroit Red Wings in only his 13th game).
He finished his first NHL season with 12 goals and 39 points in 47 games. Elite-level production in a rookie season without time on the first — albeit dismal — powerplay unit. We have high hopes for Boldy, but so far, he is blowing right past them.
Roll the Tape
Sharing a team with Mats Zuccarello, Kirill Kaprizov, and for this past season, Kevin Fiala, there was no shortage of creative offensive forwards who were willing to try anything to make something happen around the opponent's net. We might not immediately think of Boldy as a player of this ilk, but since day one he’s shown an aptitude for making magic happen.
A Bold move paying off. pic.twitter.com/lCmaJjxLVv— NHL (@NHL) April 20, 2022
Boldy has a natural ability to find space and read defences to make himself open for passes from teammates. His finishing ability is good enough to make sure he capitalizes on these chances.
Matt Boldy gets his first pic.twitter.com/lc1S5sY6by— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) January 7, 2022
He’s able to place the puck into even the slimmest of space.
Perfect placement from Matt Boldy. pic.twitter.com/4afXRYIZSC— NHL (@NHL) April 10, 2022
Since his days in the NCAA, Boldy has always been a wizard on the half-wall on the powerplay.
do you have a moment to talk to us about matthew boldy’s half wall game pic.twitter.com/V0KSwdNeZp— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) February 9, 2022
The future might already be here for Boldy. His point production is incredible, and with even a tiny bump in his development, he’d be over a point per game. There are some questions about how his production will fare away from Fiala, but at the moment, he’s been paired with a mixture of Marco Rossi, Sam Steel and Tyson Jost. He’ll have plenty of offensive ability around him this year.
The biggest room for development is on the powerplay, where he can give a lot of what the Wild don’t have outside of Kaprizov, a playmaker on the wing (Zuccarello hasn’t been used on the half-wall a whole lot). If he can nab a consistent spot on a hopefully improved powerplay, the sky’s the limit for Boldy.
Hockey Wilderness 2022 Top 25 Under 25
25. Mason Shaw, C/LW
24. Sam Hentges, C/LW
23. Simon Johansson, D
22. Hunter Haight, C
21. Nikita Nesternenko, C
20. Marshall Warren, D
19. Filip Gustavsson, G
18. Mikey Milne, LW
17. Mitchell Chaffee, RW
16. Pavel Novak, RW
15. Ryan O’Rourke, D
14. Daemon Hunt, D
13. Jack Peart, D
12. Tyson Jost, C
11. Adam Beckman, LW
10. Connor Dewar, C, LW
9. Danila Yurov, RW
8. Carson Lambos, D
7. Marat Khusnutdinov, C/LW
6. Liam Öhgren, LW
5. Brock Faber, D
4. Calen Addison, D
3. Jesper Wallstedt, G
2. Marco Rossi, C
1. Matt Boldy, LW