The New Jersey Devils (and all other NHL teams) are running out of summertime ladies and gentlemen. The calendar has rolled around to September, and while the Prospect Challenge (and other similar exhibitions) are beginning soon, there are still quite a few prominent NHL restricted free agents who remain unsigned. The reason this is being written about on a Devils site is because they have one such player this season and that would be Miles Wood.
Wood burst out onto the NHL scene during the 2016-17 season; while he played a couple of games in October, it wouldn’t be until November that he would begin to contribute offensively. His rookie year saw him finish with 8 goals and 17 points in 60 games which are pretty respectable numbers for a 4th round draft choice.
He would build upon that this past season with 19 goals and 32 points in 76 games. He continued to use his speed to his advantage and it showed as 16 of those goals were even strength tallies. He also wound up averaging almost a half minute less per game than he did during his rookie season, and with some “meh” line-mates to boot.
After seeing a season with that much growth, someone must be playing hardball in negotiations; while Wood is still a RFA with no arbitration rights, it’s a bit concerning that he hasn’t been signed at least to a bridge deal already this summer. There are some reports that both sides have met, but they’ve yet to agree upon a new contract. It’s something Devils fans have lived through before (Damon Severson contract anyone?) but it doesn’t make it any easier to stomach.
While we’ve discussed Wood’s next contract before, today is more of a plea to get this thing done sooner rather than later due to the skills that Wood brings and how much more difficult the Devils become to play with him. On New Jersey’s roster only Taylor Hall has comparable speed, and honestly I think Wood might even be a step faster; safe to say I would love to see a race between them for the title of Fastest Devil.
Beyond that, Wood is a pest; he’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas on the ice, and he also will not hesitate to get under an opponent’s skin or to scuffle and defend a teammate. Combine that with the previous fact that he can out-skate most of the league and he gives the Devils an important bottom 6 weapon that can benefit from favorable match-ups.
There’s still a good amount of time to get this done, and get a favorable deal for both sides; personally, I think that with a bit more ice time and perhaps a bit more special team play, Wood can contribute even more offensively for New Jersey. Depth is important for NHL teams and Miles brings scoring and intangibles to a Devils team that can certainly use both. Let’s not wait any longer; get it done Ray!
What are your thoughts on Miles Wood and his contract situation? Do you prefer a long term deal or a bridge deal? Do you think he has further potential to unlock or has he already become the player he will be? Leave any and all comments below and thanks as always for reading!