Before the Bridgeport Sound Tigers formally opened training camp last week, several of their players were getting a look at what life at an NHL training camp was like, including two young defensemen.
Bode Wilde and newcomer Samuel Bolduc spent time with the Islanders during the NHL training camp that opened at the beginning of January. Wilde, Bolduc and the other young defensemen that were on Long Island did so well during camp that Islanders head coach Barry Trotz even praised them on several occasions.
Wilde, in particular, got a specific mention from the Isles bench boss during camp.
“I was really impressed with a guy like Bode Wilde,” Trotz said. “This is a big opportunity for him.”
Bode Wilde called the experience “really cool” and enjoyed the smaller camp size, which allowed him to get more reps in.
“Being able to have more of those one-on-one experiences with the coaches,” Wilde said. “Just to get a little more feedback than usual and then less prospects being there you get more chances to interact and have reps with the NHL guys. That made it kind of cool for us to get to know them and be around them. Talk to them a little bit more than usual.
“That was probably one of the cooler parts about it for me was just to get to know those guys a little better.”
This year was a bit of a different experience as well for Bode Wilde, who felt this was the first year he had a legitimate chance of making the NHL roster. His first training camp two years ago he approached it as a way to just gain experience and then last year he was limited due to the ankle injury he had suffered over the summer.
And as Trotz seemed to point out himself to the media, the Islanders coaching staff liked what they saw out of Wilde.
“I think the coaches liked what they saw from me and they thought I made some strides from last year over the summer,” Wilde said. “I think the number one thing they wanted to see me work on is just a little execution. Just being sharper through and through. That’s my focus here in Bridgeport.
“That’s probably the biggest takeaway, other than that, I think they want me to be myself out there on the ice and that’s pretty reassuring.”
Bode Wilde ➡️ Travis St. Denis ➡️ Andrew Ladd 🚨 pic.twitter.com/sGW5LFFFge
— Bridgeport Sound Tigers (@thesoundtigers) January 5, 2020
For Samuel Bolduc, he thought he had gotten off to a slower start in camp but felt more comfortable as time went on. The 20-year-old defenseman also worked a bit with veteran Johnny Boychuk.
Boychuk ended his NHL career in November, but has remained around the team and has been helping the coaching staff.
“He talked a lot to me about things I can do,” Samuel Bolduc said. “What’s really important in the NHL to be a good player. And to be able to have some success with the Islanders.”
Wilde and Bolduc are back in Bridgeport now as the Sound Tigers prepare for the start of their season in a few days. The Sound Tigers are in a rather unique situation with only two other teams in their division.
That means their entire schedule is comprised of games against the same two opponents — the Providence Bruins and Hartford Wolf Pack. Despite the oddity of if their mission remains the same.
“We still want to make sure all these players are read for the Islanders at any given point,” Sound Tigers coach Brent Thompson said. “Whether it’s a transfer up to the taxi squad or right directly to the Islanders. The approach is the same way. We want to make sure their condition is ready, we’re working on their skills constantly and the systems are tight with what the Islanders expect.
“For me, there’s not a lot of difference as far as preparation on the intensity level that we have to have in practice.”