It's been years since the NY Islanders have had a puck-moving defenseman capable of quarterbacking the powerplay. Taking a step back from following his tremendous 2021-22 season, questions remain regarding if Noah Dobson can be that type of player on the Isles' back end. After an NHL call-up late in the season, Samuel Bolduc has emerged as another option for the Isles to fill that role.
Despite having a breakthrough season with the Bridgeport Islanders, Bolduc was passed on multiple times by Lou Lamoriello to be an injury replacement on the blue line for the organization. After Robin Salo started the season as the team's sixth defenseman, Sebastian Aho and Parker Wotherspoon both were called into action before Bridgeport's leading defensive point producer.
Following an Aho injury in late March, Bolduc was given his first crack at NHL action. Remaining in the lineup for the final 11 games of the season, Bolduc looked to be a dependable option for Lane Lambert and was given an opportunity to start the playoffs with Alexander Romanov remaining sidelined due to injury. After a rough outing in games one and two, Bolduc was benched once Romanov was deemed healthy enough to play.
Heading into next season, a question for the front office to answer will be determining where Bolduc stands as far as the Isles' sixth/seventh defenseman goes.
Lamoriello and Lambert would likely prefer Bolduc to become an everyday option over Aho. A massive upgrade in size and five years younger than Aho, Bolduc has the mold of a modern-day NHL defenseman. Coming up in the Islanders system, Bolduc was originally considered more of a defense-first style of defender. This year, he proved he could produce on the offensive end, with 35 (10 goals, 25 assists) in 56 games.
With a spot on the left side of the Isles' third pairing seemingly up for grabs, Bolduc is an affordable option and adds more size to the defensive corps. With a solid training camp, he could potentially be first in line to see action this season as an option to head-man the Isles' second powerplay unit.