As the 2019 NHL Entry Draft approaches, the Los Angeles Kings have their work cut out for them, including making decisions on two first-round picks: the fifth pick and the 22nd pick, thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs. From now until the draft, the staff of Jewels from the Crown will be taking a look at some draft-eligible players to help introduce some young men who could very possibly be future Kings.
“We have a trade*. The Detroit Red Wings have traded the sixth pick to the Los Angeles Kings and with that pick, the Kings select, from Boston College, Matthew Boldy.”
* - As with much of the top-level talent in this year’s draft, there’s absolutely no scenario where Matthew Boldy is available anywhere after the tenth pick (both the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks have made no secret they covet his services) and thus in my mock draft, the Kings have to move up if they want him.
Why wouldn’t you want him?
He’s the Swiss Army Knife of forwards. He does whatever is asked: a forechecker, a scorer, a shutdown Selke-type, 200-foot guy. You name it, he does it. But, before we get into the strengths and weaknesses, let’s get the basics out of the way…
Born: April 5, 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Millis, MA, USA
Weight: 192 lbs.
2019-20 Team: Boston College / NCAA
2018-19 Season: U.S. National U18 Team
64 Games, 81 Points (33G, 48A), 28 PIM
#9—NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (North American Skaters)
Matthew Boldy barely made the USNTDP. He was 5’10” and not an elite skater. However, he persevered and a fast developing skill set coupled with a massive growth spurt pushed him to a top-level prospect. Being smaller in his developmental years forced him to hone his Hockey IQ and puck skills. The USNTDP coaches all marvel how the puck sticks to him and how consistently creative he is. He’s a force beneath the dots and in and around the net. He’s also a great passer with a quality shot, often used as the trigger man from the slot.
Once a defensive liability, Boldy has worked hard to improve and his effort shows as he has rounded into a very good player in all three zones. He cuts down passing lanes and creates turnovers delivering a gritty, physical gritty on the backcheck which allowed his TOI to blossom, picking up minutes on the penalty kill with acknowledged effectiveness. He’s not afraid to lay out to block shots and put his body in harm’s way for the benefit of the team.
Boldy’s first season at Boston College next year should be his last. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in uniform at the NHL level once his freshman season concludes.
Bluntly, Boldy has consistency issues. When he is fully invested and competing hard, he surprises opponents on the backcheck, where he creates offensive chances, often getting to the front of the net. Other times, however, he’s invisible with very little impact from shift to shift and game to game. He’s never been a strong or elite skater and his power and stride need to be coached up.
“Boldy grew from 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-2. His development trajectory has been steep. He can be a power forward. He has excellent hands and vision. He can finish, he can run a power play, he can be a net-front guy. The puck is attached to him.” – John Wroblewski, USNTDP U18 coach
WHY THE KINGS SHOULD TAKE A CHANCE
The difference between 17-year-old Boldy and 18-year-old Boldy is a wide schism that hasn’t been witnessed for quite a while. Many speculate that his ceiling is much higher that 95% of the this draft class. The Kings (as does the rest of the league) are in desperate need of left wing talent which makes Boldy even that much more valuable. It remains to be seen if Rob Blake has the gumption or the want to move up to nab him in the top eight this year.