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With next to nothing happening in the hockey world now, I've decided to take the plunge and write daily profiles for members of the New Jersey Devils.
I'll be commenting on the year each player just had as well as their projected role and expectations for 2019-20. I've written three so far, with the most recent about Travis Zajac.
Today we're going with Miles Wood. Let's get to it.
63 games played, 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists), 13:42 average time on ice
1.56 points/60, +1.64 CF% Rel, -2.04 GF% Rel, -.67 xGF% Rel, 98.6 PDO
Miles Wood – like many Devils – didn't live up to expectations last season. He was definitely better than he's getting credit for, though. Wood scored at a 13-goal pace, which is quite respectable for a depth player, despite shooting only 6%. Wood actually generated shots, high-danger chances, and expected goals at a higher rate last season than during his 19-goal campaign in 2017-18. They just didn't go for him. Had he scored at an 11% clip again, his 10 goals in 63 games would have converted to 17.8 goals in 63 games. That's a massive difference. He was still his physical self as well. Among regular forwards, only Kyle Palmieri piled up hits at a higher clip.
Wood doesn't just dish out hits. He takes a lot. A ton, actually. Last season Wood ranked 15th among 337 eligible forwards (600+ minutes) in hits taken per 60 minutes of 5v5 play. Wood was on the receiving end of of 8.52. For perspective, it feels like Nico Hischier takes a fair amount and he was only hit 5.19 times per 60.
Even with the talent influx up front, not many Devils can skate like Wood, not many Devils can get to the net like Wood, and not many Devils can bring the edge that Wood can. He's still a very nice piece to have around. I think he's going to spend most of his time on what should be above average 3rd and 4th lines, and I think he's going to have a nice bounce-back year. Should Wood be pushed up the lineup due to injuries, I'm confident the high-end pieces around him will be able to elevate his game and help squeeze out more consistent production. In other words, I think he'll be able to handle himself playing up in spurts if necessary.
numbers via naturalstattrick.com and hockey-reference.com
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2019 player profile: Travis Zajac
2019 player profile: Andy Greene
2019 player profile: Damon Severson
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On the Nikita Gusev trade
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