Playing for the NY Islanders AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Islanders, Samuel Bolduc is having a really, really good season. It's a welcomed comeback as the Islanders had high hopes for the now 22-year-old defenseman who struggled mightly in the 2021-22 season. It's now apparent that the struggles were due to some injuries he was dealing with as Bolduc was named an AHL All-Star in his rookie season (2020-21) and is now a second-time AHL All-Star this season along with rookie Ruslan Iskhakov. However, Bolduc's services were needed by the varsity Islanders on Jan. 23rd when Noah Dobson was sidelined with injuries. Since the NHL All-Star break he's been returned on loan to Bridgeport, however, Bridgeport reported that Bolduc will be unavailable for Monday's All-Star classic.
So it looks like Iskhakov will travel to Laval, Quebec (Bolduc's hometown) alone to represent the B-Isles at the 2023 All-Star classic. As of now, it's unclear as to why Bolduc is being held out of the classic. Bolduc's recall to the Islanders was in place of Dobson who is projected to return after the NHL All-Star break. It's possible that Dobson's injury might still be lingering after a reevaluation during the current break, or maybe Bolduc played so well the Islanders want to keep him on the roster.
The B-Isles played on Friday night losing 4-1 to the Hershey Bears. Bolduc dressed for the contest playing top-pair minutes with Paul LaDue. Bolduc finished the contest, so injury doesn't appear likely in this instance. Instead, it's likely Bolduc will be headed back to Long Island to skate with the Islanders at practice on Monday morning to get prepared to take on the Philadelphia Flyers Monday night, whether Dobson is healthy or not.
Bolduc has played four games for the Islanders and although he hasn't registered a point, he's been an impressive steady presence on the Islanders' blue line averaging 14:32 of TOI and has registered four shots. He's shown a willingness to utilize his 6'4" frame, too, totaling eight hits in the same span.
At the risk of speculating, the Islanders and Lou Lamoriello could still be shopping. They've already landed Bo Horvat and have been said to still be in the market to add. Whether it's Bolduc or someone else, it's possible another transaction is afoot.