When it became clear that the Arizona Coyotes were not going to be able to re-sign Mikkel Boedker before he hit unrestricted free agency, the team did the responsible thing and sought a trading partner. The Colorado Avalanche were happy to send the Coyotes Alex Tanguay, Connor Bleackley, and Kyle Wood to the Desert in exchange for Boedker.
Tanguay hit free agency and has yet to sign with another team, and the Coyotes decided not to sign Bleackley to a first year contract, netting them a second round pick which would ultimately be sent to the Detroit Red Wings to help the Coyotes move up to acquire Jakob Chychrun. This has left Wood the only player remaining with the Coyotes from the Boedker trade.
So is Kyle Wood any good?
#13 - Kyle Wood - Right Defenseman - North Bay Battalion - 84th overall pick, 2014 Draft (Colorado)
Highest Rank: 7
Lowest Rank: 20
Hailing from Waterloo, Ontario, Wood spent his Juniors career playing with the Orangeville Flyers and the Brampton/North Bay Battalion in the OHL. His four seasons in the OHL saw him play in 211 regular season games, where he netted 33 goals and 77 assists. Wood's time in the OHL is finished, which means he will likely be playing for Tucson Roadrunners next year in their inaugural season with fellow defensive prospects Dysin Mayo and Anthony DeAngelo.
At 6’5" 209 pounds he definitely has the size needed to be physically dominating force in the NHL. He is the largest prospect in the Coyotes system by far (assuming Jarred Tinordi doesn't count). Along with that size comes with what Hockey’s Future calls an "underrated offensive game."
Among OHL defensemen, Wood was top 20 in the OHL in points last season, 6th in power play goals and 18th in power play assists. That's an entirely different set of circumstances compared to the NHL, but it shows that Kyle Wood can do more than just bash bodies in the defensive zone.
Defensemen typically take longer to develop into NHL players and in the past Wood’s game has been described as "raw" and needing time to develop. This shouldn’t be a concern for Coyotes fans though; the team is well stocked for next season so there is no reason to rush Wood unless the team gets bit hard by the injury bug.
When Wood came to the Coyotes, he became the best defensive prospect by default. But since the 2016 Draft he definitely has competition from DeAngelo and Chychrun. But with another season of development - this time in the AHL - expect Wood to make a push once the Coyotes defensive corps cleans up.