Place of BirthLethbridge, AB
Wood was the player I was most looking forward to seeing at this camp after dominating the BCHL ranks and leading the league in scoring as a 16-year-old. There is always an extra level of difficulty in evaluating players in leagues that are a step below the highest level of competition, so this camp and Hlinka tournament are a fantastic way to compare them directly to the best of their peer group. In that respect, Wood has passed with flying colours thus far. His size and strength stand out immediately amongst this group and as imposing he made his presence felt in these scrimmages, I imagine he will only be more effective in the actual tournament. Wood is not afraid to use his strength to his advantage and bully his way to dangerous areas however his offensive exploits are built around more than just his size. He plays with an impressive amount of nuance in his positioning and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. His smarts extend to his play with possession as he is a very balanced threat in the offensive zone. He has the finesse to stickhandle through tight spaces, the power to bull past weaker opposition, and the awareness to use his teammates when defenders overextend. He also possesses a world class release and if given an extra second to square up he will beat the goalie clean more often than not. Skating is often looked at as Wood’s main weakness, however I actually think his skating will track just fine to the NHL level. I find his stride is very reminiscent to Aleksander Barkov where there is a slight sitting posture and fairly laboured foot-speed but pace is still generated efficiently with the power and length of the stride. Wood has had a size and strength advantage at every level he’s played at and the fact that he hasn’t used it as a crutch and instead found a way to build a depth of quality around it, is a testament to the maturity in his game. A pro-style, 6-foot-4, center with a well-balanced offensive toolbox is on every scout’s wish list and Wood checks all those boxes. I could easily see him being selected in the top-10.