SAN JOSE, CALIF. – Matt Boldy was trying to catch up on schoolwork earlier this week after returning from the NCAA tournament, but that's not all that was on the Boston College sophomore's mind.
Boldy was also deciding his hockey future.
"A lot of stress," he said. "But other than that, the fact it all worked out and all worked out in the fashion it did was incredible."
After two seasons with the Eagles, Boldy signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Wild. He'll begin his pro career with Iowa, reporting to the American Hockey League after completing COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements in Minneapolis.
"It's super exciting," Boldy said. "It's a dream come true. For me, it's another step closer to the ultimate goal that every kid sets when they're little."
The Wild presented Boldy with two contract options, a deal that began immediately or one that would start next season.
By continuing to play, Boldy can build on what's already been a productive season for the 19-year-old. In 22 games, he recorded 11 goals and 20 assists and was recognized as a Hobey Baker Award top-10 finalist.
"Developmentally it was huge for me, especially confidence-wise," he said.
Despite debuting at Boston College as a prized prospect drafted 12th overall by the Wild in 2019, Boldy started slowly and didn't make the team that represented the United States at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.
"It was shaky for a little," he said, "and obviously my game wasn't where it is now."
But Boldy rallied, learning from the adversity and emerging as one of the nation's top scorers early in his sophomore season and then shining at the 2021 World Juniors, where he helped Team USA win a gold medal.
"That's what you want to see, his line of development going up, and I think he's doing that," Wild General Manager Bill Guerin said. "We're on the right track, and we feel very good about where he is right now."
At the World Juniors, Boldy tied for the team lead in goals with five.
"I was there to try and prove some people wrong," Boldy said, "just kind of go out there, play my game and show everyone who I am as an all-around player."
Guerin believes the 6-2, 195-pound Boldy will have to get quicker and stronger like all young players do, but he feels Boldy is "a very important piece" in the Wild's puzzle.
"He's got hockey sense," Guerin said. "He's got size. He's got playmaking ability. He's got a lot of great tools. It's just a matter of putting them all together at the next level."
With Iowa, Boldy hopes to demonstrate his skill and smarts. He feels he can play wing and center and ultimately, Boldy will dictate when he gets to the NHL — through his stats, how consistently he plays and his demeanor.
Boldy is among the latest from that 2021 World Juniors squad to sign a pro contract, joining the likes of Cole Caufield (Montreal) and Trevor Zegras (Anaheim). But Guerin told Boldy to focus solely on his journey.
"I know there's that internal competition between those guys and the pressure that they put on themselves," Guerin said. "But we want to take all the pressure we can off Matt and just let him develop and play hockey."
Guerin also played for Team USA, suiting up for two World Juniors, two World Cups and three Olympics, and he added another milestone to his international resume Wednesday when he was named the assistant GM of the 2022 U.S. Olympic men's hockey team.
Chicago GM Stan Bowman was named GM.
"As a player, it was always a huge honor to put on the USA jersey," Guerin said. "I always took it very seriously and like Stan, I'm a product of the 1980 generation and it was something that drove me. So, in this capacity, I'm honored to be representing USA Hockey again."
At the 2002 Olympics hosted by Salt Lake City, Guerin won silver after the U.S. lost the gold-medal game to Canada.