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Golden Eagle: Wild nabs BC-bound Boldy with first-round pick

Massachusetts-born winger scored 33 goals, 81 points for U.S. Under-18 Team last season

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

VANCOUVER -- Wild General Manager is about as proud a Boston University man as you'll find. 

A loyal Terrier who played at BU in the late-1970s and early 80s, Fenton often wears his Boston University sweatshirt with pride.

But for the second consecutive draft, Fenton drafted a Boston College recruit, a fact that would have been difficult to swallow if not for his dogged belief that Matt Boldy was the best player available when the Wild snatched him up with the 12th overall selection in Friday's first round of the NHL Draft. 

It didn't take long for legendary Boston College coach Jerry York to reach out to Fenton and give him some good-natured ribbing about his penchant for drafting Eagles.

Two drafts for Fenton as the Wild's GM and two players picked from his old college rival.

Video: Matthew Boldy on being selected by Wild

"I told him he'll probably be the first Eagle that I've rooted for. But then I refrained and told him the second, because we have [Jack] McBain there," Fenton said with a big smile. "We're taking the best player and they have a phenomenal program there, they have for as many years as I can remember. It's a great place to produce hockey players."

Boldy heads to BC in the fall coming off a memorable stint with the United States National Team Development Program, which had seven players taken among the first 15 picks in the draft. 

Boldy's selection at 12 marked the first of four consecutive picks from the Under-18 team and the third time in the past six years the Wild has picked a national team alum with its first-round pick (Alex Tuch, Luke Kunin). 

"I think you grow up really quick there," Boldy said of his time with the USNTDP. "You move away from home a little bit earlier than some other kids. You go from being a boy to a man a lot sooner than some other kids."

The Wild believes it has a special player in Boldy, who skyrocketed up the prospect rankings over the past couple of years following a growth spurt two years ago, which saw him grow from 5-foot-10 and about 140 pounds to his current 6-foot-2 and 195 points.

Video: Jennifer Boldy on son being drafted by Wild

"I'm definitely a little bit of a late bloomer," Boldy said. "I hit puberty a little later than some other kids, but it's the way I matured and my game matured with my growth in size. Getting that strength and size definitely helped and allowed me to add more aspects to my game that made me a better hockey player."

Even when he was smaller, Boldy always believed the size would come. His dad, Todd, didn't play hockey, but he did play college football. 

"My dad is a pretty big dude, so I was always kind of waiting for that growth spurt," Boldy said. "It finally happened and I just took advantage of it, started working out even harder and putting on the weight that I needed and working on my skating so it wouldn't get awkward or anything like that."

A skilled left-shot left wing, Boldy scored 33 goals and added 48 assists in 64 games with the U.S. Under-18 Team last season. 

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One of the highlights of his season came when he scored two goals and added an assist and was named the Player of the Game at the 2019 USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at Xcel Energy Center in September.

While Boldy was already on the Wild's radar, Minnesota had several scouts on hand for his performance, which helped cement his place near the top of the team's draft board.

The hope is that it was the first of many memorable games in St. Paul.

Video: Wild draft F Matthew Boldy No. 12

"We've got time to wait, but he's gonna be a really good player for us," Fenton said. "I have no doubt that he's gonna be a really good player."

Boldy was the fourth U-18 Team forward picked in the first round, which included top overall selection Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte (fifth overall) and Trevor Zegras (ninth overall). 

U.S. goaltender Spencer Knight, picked by the Florida Panthers with the selection immediately after Boldy, will join the Wild draft pick at Boston College in the fall and has had a front-row seat watching Boldy as his teammate with the national team the past two years.

"[He's] a guy who can bring it every night," Knight said. "He's so consistent and is such a good player; shot, hands, vision, just everything about him. He's big. He's a very good leader too. [The Wild] is getting a hell of a player, that's for sure." 

More from the NHL Draft:

Wild Draft Central

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