Ernie Vargas knows hockey talent when he sees it. Ernie has scouted amateur players for the Minnesota Wild for the past 21 years, and he says he was thrilled when he saw winger Matt Boldy of the U.S. National Development team was still on the board when it came time for the Wild to pick at number 12 in the first-round of the 2019 NHL Draft.
“I saw Matt Boldy play a lot, and I’m extremely glad that we got him,” Vargas said. “He’s gonna be a really good player for us in the future.”
This was the first draft for the Wild under General Manager Paul Fenton, and Vargas, who covers the United States Hockey League (USHL), the U.S. National team, the Minnesota state high school league and North American U.S. Amateur hockey, says that there’s a lot to like about Matt Boldy.
“He brings a lot of things to the table. He’s not just a one-trick pony; he’s multi-dimensional. He’s got size, he can skate, he can make plays, he’ll go to the net, he can score, and you know, with the 12th pick you expect to get a lot of those attributes.”
Seth Appert agrees, perhaps even more enthusiastically.
“Boldy’s off the charts,” Appert said. “He’s one of the best kids in our program, unreal family, just great, great people. Parents are awesome, kid is awesome, hard, hard work ethic, he is off the charts as a human being. So, they hit a home run from a skill perspective, from a potential perspective and also from the kind of person he is.”
A native of Cottage Grove, Appert just finished his second season as one of the head coaches of the U.S. National Development Team Program in Plymouth, Michigan, where Boldy was a player. Appert shares head coach responsibilities with John Wroblinski. Each coach stays with a class throughout their two years in the program. While Wroblinski was Boldy’s primary head coach, Appert saw him every day in practice and worked with him enough to form a strong opinion about the Wild’s top pick.
“You got a big, power winger who has only been fully committed to hockey for like, two years,” Appert said. “He wasn’t one of these early specialist kids that started playing year-round hockey at 10-11 years old. He was playing multi-sports until he was like 15 or 16 and he came out here. So, he’s got the size, he’s got the upside, his body hasn’t filled-out yet, he still looks like he’s barely shaved in his life and when it’s all said and done, I think that he’s got a chance at 6-2, 190-200lb power winger with dramatic skill, real high-end skill.
Overall, eight players from the U.S. National Development Team Program were chosen in the first round of the NFL draft, and 17 were selected overall. In the 6th round, the Wild selected Defenseman Marshall Warren, also from the National Development Program, and again, Appert loves the pick.
“He’s an elite, elite skating defenseman who’s just scratching the surface of what he can be. You can’t even explain what an elite skater he is. He’s a 6-foot, mobile defenseman whose athleticism is off the charts,” says Appert. “I would have picked
him in the 4th. If Marshall Warren is 6-2, he’s a second-rounder, if he’s 6-3, he’s a first-rounder because of how well he skates and how well he defends and he’s going to get to play on the power-play at BC, so he’ll get a chance to develop his offensive game there. I think he’s going to play in the NHL someday, so if you can get a guy in the 6th round who makes it to the NHL, that’s a home run.”
Both Vargas and Appert caution Wild fans to be patient, saying that both players will need at least a few seasons at the college level before they’re ready to turn pro, but for now at least Wild fans can dream of big things from the class of 2019.