2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Matthew Wood

Matthew Wood skating for the University of Connecticut
Photo: NHL.com

The Scouting Report:

Matthew Wood from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, born on February 6th, 2005, is a top prospect for the 2023 NHL entry draft in Nashville. Matthew Wood is often underlooked simply because he played his 2021-22 season in the British Colombia Hockey League and his 2022-23 season in the NCAA. The versatile forward is listed at 6’4″ and 193 pounds. In his 46-game stint with the Victoria Royals during the 2021-22 season, Matthew Wood posted 45 goals and 40 assists for 85 points in 46 games, an impressive showing for the forward. Wood would keep his momentum going into the 2022-23 season, where he won a Hlinka-Gretzky gold medal and a World Junior Championships U18 bronze medal.

Ranked #16 by Inside The Rink
Ranked #4 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Ranked #11 by TSN/Craig Button
Ranked #16 by The Hockey News
Ranked #27 by Recruit Scouting
Ranked #14 by Sportsnet
Ranked #14 by TSN/Bob McKenzie

Conrad Jack of Inside the Rink has Matthew Wood projected at 16th overall.

Matthew Wood has strong offensive talent, he has fought for credibility and worked his way up the draft board significantly. While he is not committed to the University of Connecticut for the 2023-24 season, it will be interesting to see if Matthew Wood falls into the second round, which would give any team who gets him that late a steal of a draft pick.

Diving Deeper:

Matthew Wood chose a different road for his draft year, choosing to play in the NCAA and not with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. I’m not sure if Matthew Wood could’ve found the same level of excellence with Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats, but that’s a big what-if in my mind. Let’s focus more on Matthew Wood’s attributes and areas for improvement.

Consistency:

Matthew Wood is consistent, period. He has the size and ability to bully his opponents, and it’s ultimately his hockey IQ that is his biggest asset when he steps foot on the ice. Matthew Wood has a long reach that serves him best when he’s shooting or defending the puck, he has an incredibly consistent wrist shot to complement all of his strong attributes.

“Wood is a rangy, goal-scoring forward who has silky hands for his size (considering the long stick he uses, he’s got great control on the toe of his blade out wide and the heel in tight to his feet), a marksman’s shot inside the offensive zone (both through a natural shooting motion and his one-timer), and a sixth sense for arriving around the net/slot at the right time.”

Scott Wheeler – The Athletic – Nov. 1st, 2022.

Areas for Improvement:

If Matthew Wood can improve his two-way game, he will be a force for many years to come in the NHL. Wood’s quickly catching up and realizing his size, so he’s made a lot of improvements in that area. However, Matthew Wood needs to become less one-dimensional in order to be dominant for multiple years. This is a player who is easily coached and works as hard as he can to be the best player he can be.

Prospect Potential:

I think Matthew Wood could become a dominant NHL second-line NHL scoring winger if he can work out his rough patches with an NHL developmental coach. Wood’s chosen a solid development path, and if he can continue that development, he will be just fine in the NHL.

Final Thoughts:

Matthew Wood went the NCAA route instead of USHL or WHL, which was probably best for his development for training and practice purposes. Matthew Wood can easily be a dominant player if he is able to work out the major weaknesses in his game.

Stats via Elite Prospects
Highlights via MyNHLDraft.com

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

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