Landing in the 29th spot for the 2018 NHL Entry draft is USNTDP defenceman, Bode Wilde.
Wilde is a player that is ranked much higher in public rankings because of what many perceive to be a high-end potential. That has produced some lofty expectations of a player that is really good but may lack a game-breaking ceiling that many think that is there.
Some of his underlying numbers are encouraging that suggest he will be a good two-way defender but there some other things that suggest that he is more suited for the second half of the first round.
Obviously, our ranking differs from the consensus but there is little doubt that he is a first round player and will hear his name called on the first day.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.64/ January 24, 2000
- Birthplace: Birmingham MI
- Frame:6-foot-2/ 196 lbs
- Draft Year Team: USNTDP Juniors(USHL)
SeasonAwards by season
- International Silverstick Bantam AAA All-Star
- U17 WHC Most Points by Defenseman (6)
- U18 WJC Silver Medal
Wild was selected by the Saginaw Spirit in the second round (35th overall) in the OHL Priority Selection draft but like many players within the USNTDP, he opted to there to eventually attend an NCAA program.
He committed to the University of Michigan on September 14th, 2017 and will head there this fall
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Really encouraging numbers in terms of SEAL, SH/GP, GF% and XLS%. Although his success rate is lower than many first round players because we are looking at all the prospects available and thus the higher percentile.
The point and event tracker are for the games against USHL competition.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
Here’s where we start to see some gap in the perception of his play and his results. In terms of GF% WOWY, he did a good job making the majority of his most common linemates better. That is further reflected in his personal GF% and GFREL% and shows that he pushed the puck in the right direction and made things happen.
That difference shows in his 5v5P60 – many speak to his potential as a high end offensive player and he does have some aspects to his game that make you think that. But he rates below a few other defencemen including Mattias Samuelsson and K’Andre Miller. He did produce better GF% and GFREL% numbers than them but those two contributed more offensively in their ice time.
Wilde presents a lower success rate among cohorts with 19.1% of comparable players going onto becoming NHL regulars. This is quite low for the players that are ranked in the middle part of the first round like many have him.
It cannot be stressed enough that this tool should not be the only angle used to evaluate a player.
Let’s get it out of the way – Wilde has a really well-rounded game that lends itself to being a first-round pick. The argument about potential is always a double edged sword in the sense that you have to project what they will be based on what they are now. In previous profiles, we have praised high-end potential as something that should work in a players favour and that does apply to Wilde. But there is a bit of feeling that his abilities are being overstated a bit.
Wilde is a very good defender who plays a strong two-way game that uses his passing abilities to makes things happen. He is a strong and powerful skater that plays aggressively in the offensive zone. He packs a heavy shot that compliments his ability to move the puck to his teammates.
The right-handed defender has good mobility with the puck and can carry it if need be.
There is a lot to like about his offensive game and you can understand why people are pointing to that side of the game as a reason to believe that he has a high ceiling.
On the defensive side of the game, he can be aggressive, physical but also quite smart with how he defends. Wilde uses his skating abilities to direct opponents into low danger areas and then engaging them. He does generally wait for the attacker to gain the zone and then attacks them. Ideally, he would be more aggressive in that area and not allow opponents to get the zone.
He is good at exiting the zone with the puck himself.
Those observations made in watching his game are reinforced by the tracking, albeit a small sample size. The one that did surprise me was his primary shot assists and scoring chance assists as his passing game is something that does stand out but the data suggests that he isn’t putting his teammates in situations produce. The lack of neutral zone distribution is clearly evident and something that will need to improve as you don’t want to just give up the line every time.
Comparing him to fellow USNTDP teammate K’Andre Miller:
Miller stands out in almost every grouping except controlled entries which shows that Wilde would be willing to carry the puck more while Miller would move it to a teammate or dump it in. Miller has seen his stock rise, and rightfully so, but he produces better results and presents a better expected success rate yet Wilde is widely considered the better player.
In an article for NHL.com, Wilde suggests that he is modelling his game after Blue Jackets defender Zach Werenski – which is a good goal to obtain but their games didn’t particularly lineup. As mentioned in that article, Wilde ranked 10th in points among USNTDP defencemen history and aligns pretty closely with Werenski’s point-per-game pace from his year in the U18 program.
There is so much to like about his game and it’s completely understandable why many are saying that Wilde has a high ceiling. In my honest opinion, 30th is a bit too low for Wilde but the consensus rankings have him landing here. He likely fits into that group in the early twenties and we may actually see him go earlier. If he does go earlier, it won’t be an eye browing raising move as Wilde has a complete tool box that should see him be an NHL player for a long time.
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From Future Considerations
A high-end puck-moving defender from the U.S. National Development Team, this player packs plenty of promise. He skates very well with a powerful stride and a surprisingly quick first step, which makes him tough to beat on the outside. As a welldeveloped physical player, he can flex his muscles defensively when required. Wilde makes few mistakes in his own zone. With the puck on the breakout, he is capable of going the distance. He has a tendency to go over the line at times with aggressive behaviour and take unnecessary penalties. But, overall, he shows a good understanding of his position. He rarely overcommits or loses track of his man in his own zone A powerful presence, he is consistently a step ahead thanks to mobility and awareness. Offensively, too, he is a force – unleashing shots and whipping passes with little hesitation. His release, however, needs to be quicker. He can show flashes of creativity, too, that give him a high level of maneuverability. His hands are shifty and that keeps defenders off-balance. He handles forechecking pressure with ease. As a heady player supporting his teammates, he consistently makes himself available for passes. Consistency could use improvements. A strong and promising prospect that plays with confidence. High upside for the all-situations rearguard.