In the second round of the 2018 NHL Draft, the New York Islanders selected defenseman Bode Wilde with the 41st overall pick. So far he’s been the steal of the draft.
At the 2018 NHL draft, the New York Islanders used both of their first-round picks on Oliver Wahlstrom (eleventh overall) and Noah Dobson (12th overall). They wouldn’t get another chance until pick number 41.
By then almost 40 players would be taken off the board. That’s a lot of quality pulled out of the draft before the Islanders could get a third chance. But one name kept falling as picks were taken and the Islanders turn grew closer.
That name was Bode Wilde. Projected to be a first-round pick in 2018 Bode Wilde was there for the Islanders to take at 41 and they didn’t think twice. Now, playing for the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL and scoring 50 points in 41 games it sure looks like they stole the draft with the pick others didn’t want to make.
How Did He Fall?
Going into the 2018 NHL Draft Bode Wilde was projected by NHL central scouting as the 17th overall skater and seventh overall defenseman in North America. TSN’s Bob McKenzie had Wilde ranked as the 25th draftee just days before the draft itself.
That’s how highly regarded Bode Wilde was going into the draft. With 41 points in 61 games for the USNDP going into the draft, it’s easy to see why scouts thought so highly of the big mobile D from Plymouth, Michigan.
But come draft day a number of defensemen were selected before Wilde but who ranked behind in the Central Scouting ranking or even the McKenzie ranking. Why?
It’s not clear, but it seems that deciding to not play for first Harvard and then the University of Michigan to pursue his non-school options is what dropped Wilde in some team’s minds. Again, it’s not clear so that’s pure speculation. It could be that they simply didn’t like his skill set.
But based on how Wilde played leading up to the draft and now after the draft, it’s hard to believe a lack of skill was the reason he dropped.
Wilde is a big (6’3″ 190lbs) puck moving defenseman with a huge offensive upside. Again, he’s already scored 50 points in 41 OHL games this season. At the time of writing, he ranks second amongst OHL defenseman (four points behind the leader with two games in hand).
It seems like that’s the type of skill set that any team would be glad to have on their depth chart. But for some reason, a number of teams passed on him. Including the New York Rangers who drafted two defensemen with the 22nd and 28th pick.
Just looking back on the 2018 Draft, Wilde was taken 41st overall. Assuming the earliest he would have been taken was 25th (to go with Bob McKenzie’s ranking) there were nine other defensemen taken before Wilde. Nine.
Any team would have loved to have the skill set that Bode Wilde brings to the table. But for some reason, they decided to pass up on the chance. The New York Islanders didn’t let that chance go by.
Deciding to skip on the NCAA to play in the CHL is a good decision. In the CHL you play against higher caliber players and you do so more frequently.
Its why Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows decided to move from Boston University and go to the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL last season. The advantage of a 68 game CHL* season versus a shorter 30-40 game NCAA season is clear.
*The WHL had a 72 game season in 2017-18 versus 68 for the OHL and QMJHL.
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With both Noah Dobson and now Bode Wilde in the New York Islanders prospect pool things look pretty good for a few years. Two stud defensemen that could make the jump in the next few years isn’t something we’re used to.