New Jersey Devils: Can Miles Wood Play Well Again?

The New Jersey Devils are hoping to get more from Miles Wood going forward.

The New Jersey Devils have a lot of skilled forwards that are on the NHL roster and ones that are trying to come up through the ranks. Miles Wood needs to get better otherwise he is going to be replaced one way or another. He has shown that he can be highly impactful in a certain role but a few things need to happen for him to get back to that. Fans like to hate him but it is clear that he has some tools that can make him a good bottom-six forward.

Mark Recchi‘s arrival might be able to help Wood get back to the level he was a few years ago when he scored 19 goals. He hasn’t had less than ten goals in a season since his rookie year where he had eight. A big reason people might hate on Wood is that they expect too much from a player of his skill set. He is a big body that plays a physical game so you shouldn’t be looking for him to be an offensive game-breaker.

If he can get around 20 goals a season playing in the proper spot of the lineup, that would be a great thing for the Devils. Most fourth-liners would never come close to a total like that. For reference, Brian Boyle‘s career-high in goals is 21. He had 18 another year and then has never eclipsed 15 goals otherwise. Boyle is a well respected fourth line guy and Miles Wood can get to that level if he were able to get back to form.

As mentioned before, Recchi might be able to help him get the confidence he needs to find himself in high danger areas offensively while taking care of the other parts of the game. That would help the Devils grow their depth because they can’t just rely on their top-guns to produce. Wood doesn’t have to be a game-breaker but he does need to contribute a little bit more.

Wood’s biggest strength is his speed. You can argue that he is the fastest player on the team and not many people would argue with you. The problem is, he hasn’t been able to match his speed with his hands. If the new coaching staff can help him do that, and Lindy Ruff is generally an offensive-minded guy, he will be able to improve this team’s chances of being competitive as we go forward.