The 2020 NHL draft was like no other. There wasn’t the same feeling of players having their names called, then hugs with their families before joining the team up on the stage to receive their jerseys. Everything was virtual, which, in its own way brought a different kind of magic. The highlight of which was the video of Jake Boltmann being mobbed on the ice by his teammates when he was selected in the third round by the Calgary Flames.
Boltmann sat down with The Win Column to discuss his draft day, his play style, and what’s next for him.
“It was super special, being able to share that moment with my teammates. All the guys out there that I love so much, they made that special,” remarked Boltmann with a big smile. “My coach at the other end started blowing the whistle and slamming his stick so I thought he was mad at us at first and I thought we were gonna get bag skated.”
This was followed up by yet another viral moment. This time of him being surprised midway through an interview by his parents, who had come to see him after being drafted.
Needless to say, it was a great draft weekend for the former Lincoln Stars defenceman. “I thought I had a good chance of being drafted, but you just never know. It was a really special day”.
Since then, Boltmann has had a really interesting season. He was initially expected to join the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, where former Flame Jordan Leopold played, but instead started the season with the Stars. Just around Christmastime, Boltmann was on the move, signing his National Letter of Intent with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, where Anders Lee played his college hockey.
“Lee is a guy I really looked up to growing up… He was a quarterback of the football team, star hockey for the hockey team, and pitched for the baseball team, so he was a guy I always liked watching”. Like Lee, Boltmann grew up playing football in Minnesota, and has a brother who is a star football player for the University of North Dakota. While Boltmann isn’t a small man, standing a comfortable 6’1″ and weighing in just south of 190 pounds, hockey was more his speed.
Boltmann is more of a defensive defenceman, who plays with “some sandpaper” in his game. He loves to play physical and get under other guys’ skins. While his numbers will not impress on the scoresheet, he plays a hard physical style, and does the little things, like blocking shots and getting in passing lanes, in order to help his team to succeed.
Boltmann likes to model his game off of players like Ryan McDonagh, another NCAA product. Like McDonagh, the Flames’ prospect is not the flashiest guy on the ice, but he can hold his own against any forward as well as helping to transition the play up ice.
With this being his first half-season in the NCAA, the jump was quite tough. Boltmann noted that moving over to college hockey meant learning how to work within a team that is big on systems. Notre Dame plays in the Big-10 Conference, where Mitchell Mattson, Josh Nodler, and Friend of the Blog Demetrios Koumontzis all played this year.
Because of how competitive the division is, being able to play the team’s system is incredibly important in college hockey. As tough as it was, Boltmann credited his teammates for helping him to settle in. “The guys here are unbelievable. I know it’s really weird having a guy come in at Christmas… but they took me in with open arms”.
Boltmann’s character really shines through in every answer, always there to credit his teammates and those around him for his success. What’s next for the Flames’ third round pick?
“Obviously I got a lot of work to do if I want to keep moving up in the ranks. But I feel like I have a pretty solid foundation going right now and [I am] just trying to work off that. I’m getting better here at Notre Dame, getting better for my guys and teammates here . . . and hopefully move on here and play for Calgary some time soon, which would be pretty sweet.”
We wish him nothing but success.
Welcome to the C of Red, Jake!