The ascent to the NHL was not a straight one for New York Islanders defenseman Samuel Bolduc.
A year ago, his season didn't start in Bridgeport until Oct. 30th, and he never got back on track, scoring two goals and five assists in 57 games. This season, he returned to the form that had him on the NHL radar. Through 40 games in Bridgeport, Bolduc was enjoying his best professional season with 26 points (8G, 18A) and being named an AHL All-Star.
"It helps to be healthy," said Bolduc in NewYorkIslanders.com. "After three years, the confidence just goes up. We have a decent group of players in Bridgeport, so that helps a lot, and we have a lot of fun together, and it's been fun to come to the rink."
As Eyes on Isles' Michael Stahurski wrote in his 2022-23 prospect profile, "Bolduc is a good skater, especially for his size. He’s not someone who is going to blow past anyone or make significant moves on his edges, but he can hold his own. His stick is his best asset, as he’s remarkable with his poke check but needs to improve his physicality."
"He's definitely a big kid with a lot of skills, a lot of talent in his game and obviously a big body. He sees the ice very well, is a great guy to be around and a horse in the gym. It'll definitely be a great add to our lineup if he is [in]."- Anthony Beauvillier on Bolduc
The availability of Noah Dobson will likely determine whether or not Bolduc's stay at the NHL level is anything more than just one game. The organization has seemed to sour on Robin Salo, as Bolduc, Parker Wotherspoon, and Dennis Cholowski have all had opportunities ahead of the 2017 second-round draft pick in recent weeks. Head coach Lane Lambert seemed pleased with Bolduc's poise and all-around game, which has had time to mature in the AHL.
He finished his first NHL game with 14:28 TOI with a shot on goal, three attempts, three hits and a block. "It's still my first game so I still have a lot of things to learn," Bolduc said. "The more experienced I'm going to take, the better it's going to be."