NHL Draft Hockey

Minnesota Wild’s first-round draft pick Matt Boldy poses with Wild owner and chairman Craig Leipold, left, and General Manager Paul Fenton Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia.

VANCOUVER -- Attleboro-area hockey fans may take better note of the Minnesota Wild.

The NHL Western Conference entry selected Boston College-bound Matt Boldy, whose father is Todd Boldy, a member of the Attleboro Police Dept., as its first selection in Friday night's NHL Draft.

Boldy, a Millis resident, was the 12th player selected overall.

"I think you grow up really quick there," Boldy told the Wild website of playing with the U.S. National Development program. "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."

Boldy was a left wing who played with the Providence Capitals and Minuteman Flames youth programs, then moved along to the Boston Junior Eagles (2015-16) and the Dexter School (2016-17). Due to his size at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds and his potential to be a top-six forward, Boldy's name was enhanced among NHL prospects.

Boldy scored 33 goals and had 48 assists in 64 games with the U.S. Under-18 Team last season.

Eight Americans have been drafted No. 1 overall in the NHL Draft. Boldy joins Wrentham's Joe Hulbig, who played at Providence College and was a first-round draft pick (13th overall) by the Edmonton Oilers in 1992 as local players taken with the first pick of NHL teams.

"I'm definitely a little bit of a late bloomer," Boldy told the Wild. "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."

Boldy was highly recommended by Wild scouts to Minnesota General Manager Paul Fenton, a former Boston University hockey player.

"I told him he'll probably be the first Eagle that I've rooted for," Fenton said. "But, then I refrained and told him 'the second,' because we have (Jack) McBain there. We're taking the best player and they (Jerry York's Eagles) have a phenomenal program there. They have for as many years as I can remember.

"It's a great place to produce hockey players."

Boston College is coming off of a strong showing with the U.S. National Development program as the Eagles had seven players taken in the NHL Draft among the first 15 selections.

With the New Jersey Devils  taking Jack Hughes as the No. 1 pick overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, it marked the fourth consecutive year that a non-Canadian was taken as the first pick.

U.S.NDT goaltender Spencer Knight, picked by the Florida Panthers with the selection immediately after Boldy, will join the Wild draft pick at BC and relished the thought of him as a teammate for the past two seasons and now on Chestnut Hill.

"(Boldy is) a guy who can bring it every night," Knight told the Wild website. "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."

The Minnesota Wild selected eight players -- five forwards, two goalies and one defenseman -- during the Entry Draft Friday and Saturday at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

Boldy's selection 12th overall was 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).

Todd Boldy never skated or played hockey, but was a devout football player.

"My dad is a pretty big dude, so I was always kind of waiting for that growth spurt," the younger 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."

"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).

Hockey East set a record with 27 current players and recruits taken in the NHL Draft, the most of any college hockey conference nationally. In total, Hockey East had 12 forwards, 12 defensemen, and three goaltenders chosen. Boston University led all NCAA schools with eight selections in the draft, while Boston College boasted five, including a record three in the first round.

Peter Gobis may be reached at 508-236-0375

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