New Jersey Devils: Where In The World Is Miles Wood?

New Jersey Devils left wing Miles Wood (44): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Devils left wing Miles Wood (44): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

A common question amongst New Jersey Devils fans last season was, “Where is Miles Wood?” Wood suffered a hip injury last season that required surgery and missed a large majority of the 2021-22 season. Wood made a full recovery and started this season hot. He has played in 36 games this season, but this year fans are again asking the same question, just in a different manner.

Wood has always been a streaky offensive player in his time with the Devils, so some may think this is an overreaction. That is until you realize he scored 5 of his 7 goals this season between games 9 and 14, with just 1 goal in his last 22 games. Wood has the occasional scoring opportunity in recent games, but we simply have not seen the Miles Wood that we got a glimpse of when he picked up five goals in six games earlier this season.

In order for the Devils to advance to the playoffs this season, they need players like Miles Wood to contribute on offense. The team has lacked secondary scoring in their recent slump and would benefit greatly from Wood being the offensive force we know he can be on a bottom-six forward line.

The team saw great success early on, especially during the win streak when Lindy Ruff could roll four lines of forwards and three lines on defense. This team needs to find that four-line rhythm again. Miles Wood is so instrumental to that happening.

Maybe Wood’s recent struggles are largely due to not playing with the linemates he has become so accustomed to for so long. Following the injury to Nathan Bastian, that impact line became a mess and Wood has been a victim of a lack of consistency in linemates. Nobody in the bottom six necessarily drives the offense for their line. Still, as the Devils get healthy (Ondrej Palat and Nate Bastian), players will return to their rightful lines. This can help the offensive output, especially in the bottom six.

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The Devils getting healthy in the near future is a major key to this team making noise in the 2023 calendar year. Nate Bastian has been so clearly missed, who could’ve thought that his injury would prove so costly to this team? A Bastian return would also signal the return of the BMW line (Bastian-McLeod-Wood), a line that has proved to be one of the best 4th lines in all of hockey. The impeccable chemistry between the trio as well as their physicality allows them to create offense and keep teams honest with the body, two things the Devils have sorely missed since Bastian’s injury. Bastian being healthy is a massive key in sparking Miles Wood’s offense once again, as well as this team as a whole.