Evaluating The Growth Of Miles Wood

The New Jersey Devils‘ 100th overall pick in 2013, Miles Wood, has become a common name in the lineup. Wood brings a fierce, energetic, and astonishingly fast element to New Jersey’s lineup. Wood is still a young NHL player but is the 5th oldest steady player for the team at 25 years old. Throughout his five seasons as a full-time player, Wood has shown growth in multiple areas each season. The 6’2”, 195-pound left-winger will be heading into his last contract year after re-signing for 4 years at $2.75 AAV. Wood will become a restricted free agent at the end of his contract, therefore, the Devils will be heavily evaluating Wood and his growth. 

Miles Wood’s Most Recent Season

In his 2020-2021 season, Miles Wood secured his spot on a successful and necessary line with Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian. Often dubbed the “BMW” line, the line was usually the fourth line and sometimes shifted to the third line. The three players worked well together and all have the same thing in common. Wood, McLeod, and Bastian give every shift 110% effort and never stop harassing the other team’s players. Furthermore, they are all physical and bring a gritty game that is severely lacking on the Devils. The stability of the line was an advantage for Wood and helped him play some of the best hockey of his career and also, the smartest hockey. 

Above all, Wood was taking drastically less unnecessary and damaging penalties. He finished the year with a total of 29 penalty minutes in 55 games. This is his lowest by far with his first earning him 86 penalty minutes in 60 games. Furthermore, Wood obtained over 84 penalty minutes in his next two seasons. In the 2019-2020 season, he earned a total of 57 penalty minutes in 68 games. Along with playing smarter, he contributed to goal-scoring. He finished the year with 17 goals, which would tie him to first place on the team with Pavel Zacha. Wood also contributed 3 power-play goals on a very poor power-play year for New Jersey. Wood scored a tremendous amount for a player who played most games on the fourth line and averaged 14:59 of ice-time. 

Projecting His Continuous Growth 

If Wood can continue his growth that he has shown every year, there is no reason to believe he will not be a full-time NHLer. If Wood can successfully achieve his job by playing hard, smart, and contributing his offensive prowess, he can most likely be a consistent 15 to 20-goal scorer every year. Plus, Wood brings a physical presence to the game and does not back down from any fight. He has proven he will throw fists with the toughest of opponents such as Jamie Benn and Wayne Simmonds. The biggest and most useful element of Miles Woods’ game is his speed. For a big guy, Wood is consistently the fastest player on the ice. His speed allows for dump-ins and loose pucks to turn into great chances and common breakaways. However, a major downfall of Miles Wood is his shooting abilities and hands. On most breakaways, the puck is shot into the goalie’s pads or chest. If Wood had better hands or a shot, he’d easily have more goals.

Miles Wood’s Future With The Devils

Miles Wood will expire as an RFA at the end of his current 4-year contract. Therefore, the Devils will be assessing his play in the upcoming season and might even peek at the market for Wood. Due to Wood’s style of play, he can be a great piece for a lot of teams. Teams could overpay for Wood and that would benefit the Devils. However, Wood can also solidify his spot with the Devils and be a part of the team’s core in an effort to get back to competitive hockey. With such a young team and even younger and more skilled guys joining the Devils, Wood’s place would most likely be a bottom-six guy. Nevertheless, Wood will continue to add speed, size, and grit to the Devils’ line-up for the foreseeable future. 

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