It's a little poetic that a kid who grew up skating at an arena named after Mike Bossy would find himself drafted by the New York Islanders.
That's the case for Laval, QC, native Samuel Bolduc, the Islanders second-round pick (57th overall). Bolduc, a 6'4, 209 lbs. blueliner, who was drafted from the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL, and is already armed with a little knowledge of his new team.
"I know the great history with Mike and a couple of Stanley Cups," Bolduc said. "It's a great organization."
Bolduc set career-highs in goals (9), assists (28) and points (37) in his second season with the Armada. The numbers are nice, but the strength of his game is his play in his own end, drawing comparisions to Scott Mayfield from Islanders President and GM Lou Lamoriello.
Video: NHL Draft: Samuel Bolduc
Bolduc is a self-described two-way defenseman, highlighting his first pass, as well as ability to play on the penalty kill and in six-on-five situations. He said he models his game after Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore.
"We're both big guys that can skate with the puck, join the rush and play defensively," Bolduc said of him and Theodore. "[I'm] a good two-way D. I like to skate with the puck, have a great shot and my first pass is pretty good. I can play PK, defensively, six on five, stuff like that."
NHL Network touted Bolduc as a steady presence in the defensive end, with the size to clear the front of the net, but with quick feet and good skating ability to rush the puck. Bolduc finished first at the NHL combine in the pro agility testing (the shuttle run), finishing with a time of 4.28 seconds, adding credence to his quickness.
"He's a workout beast," NHL Networks' Sam Cosentino said. "He takes care of business in his own end of the ice. In the corners, snuff plays out. He's got the strength to do that right now. He has an NHL body."
Like Islanders first-round pick Simon Holmstrom, Bolduc was a little surprised to be selected where he was. The pre-draft projections had him pegged from 68th to 102nd but that didn't mean too much to the 18-year-old, who is looking to prove himself to the Islanders. Lamoriello said that Bolduc's talent and potential will be on display at the team's mini camp this week.
"There's an upside," Lamoriello said.
NEWKIRK, BIBEAU AND COSKEY HAVE ISLES CONNECTIONS:
The Islanders final three picks on Saturday had a few things in common. They were all forwards and were all teammates with at least one other prospect already in the Isles organization.
Reece Newkirk, the Isles fifth-round pick, played with Kieffer Bellows in Portland in 2017-18. Felix Bibeau, the Isles sixth-rounder, won a QMJHL title and Memorial Cup with Noah Dobson in Rouyn-Noranda this season. Cole Coskey, the Isles' seventh-rounder, played with Bode Wilde and Blade Jenkins in Saginaw this year.
Newkirk recorded 59 points (23G, 36A) in 68 games with Portland this season, a 48-point increase on his rookie year. The center has an edge, as he led the Winterhawks in penalty minutes (88), but also tied for second in game-winning goals (5).
Bibeau, 20, saw his stock rise in his overage year with the Huskies. Passed over in two NHL Drafts, Bibeau recorded 69 points (28G, 41A) in 63 games this season and added another 29 points (14G, 15A) in the Huskies QMJHL playoff run. The center was also named to the Memorial Cup all-star team along with Dobson after recording five goals and one assist in the tournament. Bibeau will play for the Quebec Remparts next season, as he was traded on June 7.
Coskey had a career year with Saginaw, setting new highs in goals (31), assists (32) and points (63). The 20-year-old right winger has 155 points (72G, 83A) in 240 OHL games, all with Saginaw.
Lamoriello said the three forwards all have a different flavor to their game.
"One size and strength. One is a little chippy with some grit behind him and another with finesse," Lamoriello said.
NHL SALARY CAP SET AT $81.5M FOR 2019-20
The NHL salary cap is set for $81.5M for the 2019-20 season, a $2M increase on 2018-19.
Per the NHL:
The National Hockey League Players' Association and the National Hockey League today announced that the Team Payroll Range established for the 2019-20 League Year, pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, provides for a Lower Limit of $60.2 million, an Adjusted Midpoint of $70.9 million and an Upper Limit of $81.5 million.
ISLES PHONE CALLS:
Both Simon Holmstrom and Sam Bolduc received calls from Islanders to congratulate them on being drafted. Captain Anders Lee called Holmstrom on Friday night to welcome him to the team, while Anthony Beauvillier - the team's resident francophone - offered up a bienvenue à Long Island to Bolduc.
BARZAL ON HUGHES AND KAKKO:
Coquitlam, BC, native Mathew Barzal was on hand for the first night of NHL Draft to welcome the Islanders newest prospect. Barzal touched on a host of subjects during a media availability, including having two highly-touted prospects, Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, join their division rivals in the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.
"The Metro Division just keeps getting better and better," Barzal said. "It'll be fun. There;s a lot of hype around both of those guys and it'll be fun competing against them for a while."