Meet Miles Wood, one of the newest New Jersey Devils. Drafted 100th overall (4th round) at the 2013 NHL Draft (which was in New Jersey), Wood is just 20-years old/6’2”/195 lbs. and just completed his freshman season at Boston College; in 37 games he registered 35 points (10g-25a). After he and his Eagles’ teammates were eliminated at the Frozen Four (Thursday), Wood signed his entry-level deal with the Devils (Friday) and joined the team in New Jersey for their regular season finale (Saturday). He is the son of former NHLer Randy Wood, who played 10-plus seasons with the New York Islanders, Buffalo, Toronto and Dallas.
Wood and his college teammate, Steve Santini, made the journey from Tampa Bay (where the Frozen Four was) back to Boston and then drove down to New Jersey to make their NHL debuts. It was quite the 48-hour excellent adventure. One person happy to see them in the room was former Boston College standout and current Devils goalie Cory Schneider, as he told The Hockey Writers following their 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in game no. 82.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) April 9, 2016
“It’s nice. It’s good,” Schneider said with a chuckle when THW asked about adding a few more Eagles to the nest in New Jersey. “The program’s been really good the last few years; it’s good to see a couple of them join me here, me and Steve (Gionta). They looked good tonight, it’s the first game; it’s not easy, they had a whirlwind last few days – coming from Tampa and everything. I thought they were solid. Sometimes when you don’t notice a guy, it’s a good sign. I thought they both played within themselves and didn’t try to do too much. Hopefully, they can help us down the road here.”
His new coach was also impressed with Wood and what he can possibly bring to the team going forward. “If you look at Miles Wood, he’s going to be that size; everyday, all day, which is important,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “That’s one of the things we’d like to do – is continue to try to get our team a little bit bigger in size, and speed. Miles brings both of those things, he’s a very big player. I think you saw his explosiveness and speed tonight; that was a factor.”
We spoke with Wood following his first morning skate and then later that night after the game had ended to get a gauge on his emotions, and just what those 48-hours were like on his crazy journey from college kid to professional hockey player in the NHL.
Take a look at that smile, every time we saw him Saturday, we saw that smile:
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) April 9, 2016
The Hockey Writers: Obviously you must be excited about tonight, you haven’t stopped smiling since we walked in here…
Miles Wood: Yeah, it’s a childhood dream of mine to play here (in the NHL); I’m super thankful for this chance to get to play tonight and I’m kind of speechless about it, but I’m very excited for it.
THW: Does it help to have Steve with you to go through this, a guy you were teammates with all season at BC?
MW: Yeah, Steve is a great guy. We actually drove down (here) together last night. I was telling him, thank god you are here because it makes this a little less weird (smiles); we’re both very happy and excited for the chance tonight.
THW: The last 48 hours have to be a whirlwind for you guys, playing in Tampa in the Frozen Four and then signing pro contracts a day later.
MW: Yesterday was pretty hectic. Flew back from Tampa, then I signed a contract and then drove down to New Jersey; we got here about one in the morning. Today, already, has been amazing.
— New England Hockey Journal (@NEHockeyJournal) December 22, 2015
THW: Can you tell the fans about your season at Boston College? What kind of game do you play for those that don’t know?
MW: The season overall it was almost like the best time of my life. We got to the Frozen Four, with some great friends of mine; the coaching staff was unbelievable to me. It was definitely a season that I’ll always look back on and cherish. For me, I’m just a power forward-type player; I help the guys around me, create space, stuff like that – stand in front of the net.
THW: Has there been any talk about after tonight, maybe going to Albany and playing down there for the playoffs?
MW: I’m actually going to head back to college, finish up my freshman year. That’s the plan.
— Pucks and Recreation (@pucksandrec) March 29, 2016
THW: Do you have a lot of family and friends going to be here tonight?
MW: My brothers and sisters are coming over from New York City, but my mom and dad are still in Tampa.
THW: They couldn’t make it up?
MW: No, I was expecting to play in the National Championship game. So they’re still down there. I would’ve loved to have won that National Championship, it was a chance that I’ll always remember.
THW: Did you have a favorite player growing up or a guy you try to emulate?
MW: My favorite player is definitely Chris Kreider. He plays my type of game, Jordan Staal too. Those are big, power forward-type players.
THW: You may be playing against Kreider next year if you make the team; you have any thoughts on that?
MW: (smiles) It’ll definitely be real; my first time skating out there against/with him would be, kind of weird. I’ve looked up to him. I watched him in high school and college and now in the pros; I’ve watched how he has progressed and stuff like that. We talked over the summer. It would be nice to see him out there on the ice.
THW: You do know he plays for a rival team right? He’s your rival now.
MW: I’ll just be excited to be playing (grins).
Here’s our chat from the postgame. Wood played 16 shifts (13:06 ice-time) on a line with Adam Henrique and Tyler Kennedy and registered two shots on goal during his debut.
— Michael Sullivan (@MichaelJSully) March 26, 2016
THW: How’d things go out there for you tonight?
MW: It was a dream come true (smiles) out there, playing alongside Henrique and TK; they were great to me all game, supporting me, telling me small things. It was awesome.
THW: Was it all like a blur to you?
MW: As soon as the game was done I looked up to the crowd and thought ‘wow, this is an unbelievable feeling.’ It’s special to play for New Jersey and I’m so happy to be here.
— Leo Scaglione Jr. (@LeoScaglioneJr) April 9, 2016
THW: It was a special night overall too, with two guys hitting 30 goals, possibly Patrik Elias’ last game and three of you making their debuts…
MW: It was certainly special to see those guys hit a remarkable thing like that with 30 goals in a season. With Patrik, he had an amazing career, a Hall-of-Famer, for me to be on the same ice as him, it’s just unbelievable.
THW: Is this better than you imagined on the flight yesterday?
MW: This is awesome (grins ear-to-ear). This is the best thing ever. A dream come true; I’ve been waiting a long time for this and I’m just trying to take it all in.