12- Kyle Wood- Defense
Where Did He Come From? 2015-16 trade deadline deal that shipped Mikkel Boedker to Colorado, in exchange for Wood, as well as Alex Tanguay and Conner Bleackley.
Rank in last year’s 21 under 21? 13
Has He Played in the NHL?: Not yet, but his chance is coming.
Kyle Wood is the last remaining chess piece in play in the Mikkel Boedker deal from a few seasons ago, and represents the last significant transaction made with Don Maloney as General Manager.
Given Boedker's trajectory following the swap -- and what came of the compensatory pick that resulted in letting Conner Bleackley walk, if Wood becomes an NHL regular, it's icing on the cake.
As it relates to Wood the player, he represents the best defensive prospect in the Coyotes system who's yet to make the big league squad, which says more about the men in front of him than it does his individual talent level.
Towering at 6-foot-5 (some sites have him listed at 6-foot-7, and it's hard to disagree when you see him in person), with some meat on his bones (230 pounds), he has the physical profile for the NHL, and a blistering slapshot that figures to translate, as evidenced by his winning of the “Hardest Shot” competition at the AHL All-Star Game.
Even though his defensive game could still use a good bit of seasoning, his AHL All-Star Game appearance highlighted a fantastic pro debut for Wood. He led rookie defensemen in goals, and was third in the league with 43 points in 68 contests, a good bit of which was part of Tucson's top power play unit. That experience from the right-handed side in theory gives the Coyotes something they've been missing since Michael Stone left town.
Suffice it to say, it's easy to see why Wood is an exciting figure in the Coyotes pipeline. He fills a very present roster need -- and is quickly proving his chance in the NHL is nigh.
What does the future hold for Wood?:
The acquisition of Adam Clendening greatly complicates Wood's status, as Clendening figures to be his direct predecessor on the depth chart.
But in contrast, Jakob Chychrun's status also slightly helps his standing. If Chychrun is out a sizable amount of time, Kyle Wood suddenly slots in as one of the best seven defenseman available -- and the third best right-handed shot. The latter brings the Coyotes immense versatility, and makes for a compelling case to make the NHL roster.
In summary, after a stellar AHL campaign, there's likely little Wood has left to prove at that level. And injuries happen in the NHL. That leads me to believe Wood will see an NHL rink some time this season, and even has a reasonable chance to start the season in one.