Welcome to another installment of All About the Jersey 2018 NHL Draft prospect profiles. Here, we will be taking a look at Bode Wilde, a defenseman committed to the University of Michigan for 2018-19.
Who is Bode Wilde?: On his USA Hockey page, Bode Wilde is listed at 6’3” and 197 pounds, and he has a right shot. He was born January 24, 2000 - and given his commitment to the University of Michigan, the Devils would likely not see him in their NHL uniform until he is around 20 years old. While drafting for need is not something many people are fond of, Bode Wilde’s player profile as a large, two-way defenseman plays well into the scarcity of the defense pipeline in the Devils organization.
Where is he ranked?: Bode Wilde is ranked:
- 17th by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters
- 12th by Future Considerations
- 23rd by International Scouting Services
- 15th by McKeen’s Hockey
What this means: The New Jersey Devils have the 17th overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft this year. Bode Wilde is generally ranked at the end of the draft lottery or just outside it, where the Devils have their first pick. Therefore, there is a decent chance that the New Jersey Devils will have the opportunity to select Bode Wilde with their first round selection, and I think that, unless someone more highly ranked falls to them by chance, there is a good probability the Devils select the good-sized defenseman, from my point of view.
Looking at earlier rankings, it does not appear that Bode Wilde has stagnated at all in terms of his development. His midterm rank from NHL Central Scouting was 22, meaning he had a +5 improvement in position in the second half of his season. This may encourage some teams to take him earlier than he is ranked, as he has continually improved and may be a very workable prospect for coaches.
Should the Devils select him, if afforded the opportunity?:
In his first year as a member of NTDP, Wilde had eight goals and 19 assists with the U17 team. His second year showed much improvement in his offensive production, and solidified him as a first round prospect. In 61 games, he scored 12 goals and had 29 assists for a total of 41 points.
While defensemen are hard to pin down, Bode Wilde has a considerable track record as contributing to the offense whilst being defensively positive for his team. There is a chance he falls out of the lottery due to the other defensemen in the draft, but his game might see him selected before the Devils get a chance.
What others say about Bode Wilde: This is from Aaron Vickers, at Future Considerations:
Wilde is a big, two-way difference–maker on the back-end…a big kid that is also a real solid skater…transitions smoothly…passes the puck with authority and accuracy…has a booming slap shot from the point that he can unleash in a hurry…he can be a real catalyst on the power play…shows nice leadership skills…calm puck handling, rarely displaying panic under pressure…generates time and space by using body positioning…uses his big frame to step into opponents and shut them down physically…closes the gap, seals off along the boards and eliminates time and space
While Vickers had more to say about Bode Wilde, this excerpt above gets to the point on why I think Bode Wilde would indeed be a good selection for the New Jersey Devils if he were to be available to them in the draft.
Why Bode Wilde is intriguing: In building a “fast, attacking, and supportive team”, defenseman who are quick to close down on puck carriers are necessary to having an all-around team. A problem the New Jersey Devils have is that they are still too slow in preventing opportunities while on defense and moving the puck the other way. Given the prospect pipeline and the improbability of a massive improvement through free agency or trade in that department, I think that, in the hypothetical situation where Bode Wilde is available to the Devils, he would be a strong choice given his skill-set and upside.
He might not have the most dynamic offensive profile, but a good slap shot can always be useful for a team. I am primarily interested in him for his two-way versatility and quickness off the puck that the New Jersey Devils do not apparently have either on their team, in their prospect pipeline, or available to them in free agency.
This video shows more of Wilde's offensive side, which I think can translate into a useful game at the NHL level. He's clearly a good skater, but he will have to get used to not having as much room to work with the puck against professional defensemen.
Summary: Bode Wilde is not only an option for being a defenseman potentially available to one of the thinnest defenseman pipelines in the league, but he's an intriguing pick for his style of play. He has a reputation for playing a hard-nosed game, while not getting into trouble with turnovers or too many penalties. If the Devils take him on the day of the draft, they will be taking someone with a high motor and skill to go with it. While I'm not expecting him to be a 40 or 50 point defenseman, it could be a boon to the Devils two years from now to have a player who can contribute offensively and play a tight, fast, hard-checking defensive game. He isn't a must-pick if he is on the board when the Devils are on the clock, but he's a solid choice if that's the route they choose. Somewhere between one and three years from now, he may be a better supplement to Sami Vatanen and Damon Severson than Steven Santini will be. If he were to work out as a pick, it could turn the right side of the defense into an actual strength for the New Jersey Devils.
Your Thoughts: I'm always interested in what others have to say. Are you more interested in Bode Wilde's defensive or offensive upside? Given descriptions of him, and your own personal takes, who might you compare him to in the NHL? If he were hypothetically picked by the Devils, how would you feel? Leave your thoughts below, and thanks for reading.