New Jersey Devils: Much Ado About Miles Wood

Miles Wood - New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Miles Wood - New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Miles Wood is probably the most controversial player on the entire New Jersey Devils team. With two more years left on his deal, and a lot of spots open in the forward lines, where should he fit when next season opens?

Racing down the side, New Jersey Devils forward Miles Wood skates with the puck towards the net by himself. It’s the most exciting play in hockey. The breakaway. Everyone in the arena and at home hold their breath for the around three seconds it takes to develop and then finish with either utter jubilation or severe disappointment.

As we all know, Miles Wood ended those types of plays in disappointment more often than not. It’s nice that the last one ended up being beautiful. However, it doesn’t take away the boom-or-bust factor of Wood. He’s either making literal game-breaking plays that put the Prudential Center on it’s feet, or he looks like he’s lost on the ice. There is no inbetween.

We were hoping the 2018-19 season was the anomaly, and his contract negotiation that cost him most of the preseason blew most of the momentum of the season. This season, he had a full workout, preseason, and he was still the most inconsistent player on the ice.

His Corsi For Percentage (basically the amount of chances his team gets against the amount his team gives up while he’s on the ice) is a paltry 43.54% at 5v5. Yet, his high-danger chances for and against is actually positive. That’s one of the most interesting things about Miles Wood. His stats don’t usually make sense.

Wood’s underlying numbers don’t match what we’re watching on the ice. He’s usually one of those players where his advanced stats look pretty good (besides the Corsi), but we see on the ice his inconsistency is utterly damning. He sinks players of higher caliber in certain situations, which made it confusing that he was placed on a line with Kyle Palmieri and Nico Hischier.

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Wood’s propensity for being all or nothing makes much more sense on the fourth line than anything. No matter who the Devils sign next year, Wood’s most likely role should be on the bottom of the forward lines. He can play a change of pace role, and if there’s an injury he can jump on Travis Zajac‘s line. However, anything more than a fill in role on the top nine is too much.

Wood is a very good piece on this team. He has a very simple, carved-out role. However, the Devils have been trying to play him out of position. Of any player on this team, the Devils next coach might be most important to Miles Wood. He has as much talent as anyone, but if someone can get him to focus on fixing his flaws, he can become one of the better assets on the Devils. However, with the wrong coach, he’s a liability.