by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of The UCONN Blog.
The 2023 NHL Draft will be here before you know it, and Draft 412 will preview some of the prospects who will be probable first round picks. Draft 412 will go over the strengths and weaknesses of each prospect and where they should land in the NHL Draft.
Name- Matthew Wood
Team- UCONN (NCAA)
HT/WT- 6’4” 193 lbs.
Home – Lethbridge, AB, CAN
Matthew Wood has exceeded most expectations to become one of the best NCAA prospects in the draft. Wood had 34 points in 35 games for the Huskies this past season.
Besides the top 5 prospects in the draft, Wood has one of the highest ceilings in the draft class. As a player, Wood won’t hesitate to shoot first—as evident by recording only one shotless game in 35 played. He has soft hands and a lethal wrist shot, one that’s so quick, he can score from anywhere on the ice with great accuracy. He has the big body sought by all teams to play in front of the net and has the hands to score in-tight.
Wood has a high hockey IQ and plays a very consistent game. You know what you are going to get when he steps on the ice. For a big guy, he can stickhandle smoothly and can skate the puck out of danger as well. His long reach helps him to clog up passing lanes on defense.
Wood’s skating is below par, and he will lag a step behind a faster opponent. He is strong on his skates but lacks acceleration. Wood needs to add weight to his lanky frame before he gets to the NHL and struggles at times during puck battles in the corners, letting smaller skaters get underneath him.
Matthew Wood has the ceiling to be selected in the top 20 of this draft. When watching film of Wood, it is hard not to see a little bit of Tage Thompson or Tyler Seguin in his play. If Wood hits his ceiling, 40 goal seasons are not out of the question
Round 1- Top 15 / #13 on Draft 412 big board.