The New York Islanders announced on Tuesday that they've signed defenseman Samuel Bolduc to a two-year contract. The one-way deal for the pending restricted free agent is $800k for the next two seasons.
The 22-year-old Bolduc made his NHL debut last season, playing in 17 regular games, scoring two goals and adding one assist. He played in Games 1 and 2 against the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs before Alexander Romanov returned from injury.
As is commonly the case for young defensemen, there was some good and some bad for Bolduc in his rookie season. “Every night is a night of learning and experience,” Bolduc told the NY Post. “Sometimes there’s some nights where things are not gonna go as well as other nights. Just need to learn how to manage those nights. Like I said, every night’s learning. You can learn a lot.”
A 2019 second round selection (57th overall), Bolduc had early success professionally in Bridgeport, scoring six goals and 14 points in 24 games during his first professional season and was named to the Atlantic Division All-Star Team. The 6'4 defenseman was set to represent Bridgeport at the 2023 AHL All-Star Game before he was called up to the NHL by the Islanders.
After scoring his first NHL goal at home against the Seattle Kraken in February, head coach Lane Lambert praised Bolduc for his play. "(We have) a lot of trust in (Bolduc)," Lambert explained. "We've talked about his poise, and he's got size, his reach. He does a lot of the little things well, good stick positioning and things like that. He's done a good job."
The amount Bolduc plays and where he plays to start next season could depend on Scott Mayfield's future with the team. The 30-year-old Mayfield is an unrestricted free agent and both he and the Islanders have expressed a desire to keep him on their blue line, but the team's salary cap situation could make that difficult given the market for the playoff-tested defenseman. If Mayfield departs, Bolduc could be in line for a bigger role during the 2023-24 season from the start of the year.