New York Islanders 41st overall pick from 2018 Bode Wilde spoke about how his stint in the OHL was key to his development.
The young defenseman scored 70 points and ranked as the third highest scoring blueliner in the OHL last season.
That production powered the Saginaw Spirit to their best season on record with a 45-17-3 record and 96 points as well as a push to the OHL’s Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. Where they’d eventually fall to the eventual OHL Champion Guelph Storm.
Now that the 2018-19 season is over, the native Montrealer was in the studio for TSN690’s Weekend Game Plan to talk about his season and how the OHL was a good fit for him.
Leading up to the NHL Draft, Bode Wilde notably decided to not go through the college ranks instead opting for the OHL. He had committed and then de-committed from Harvard and then the University of Michigan and would be looking at non-school options for 2018-19.
He’d eventually chose the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit in August.
That decision, combined with not being invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase likely kept him from achieving a personal goal of being drafted in the first round.
But ask him now, and he’ll tell you that the decision to skip college for the OHL was the right one for his development.
Speaking to TSN 690’s Weekend Game Plan, Wilde stated that playing more games in the OHL was better for his development than playing in the shorter college season.
"“The amount of games I played this year is what helped me improve the most. […]Had I gone to college I would have gotten just over 30 games. Its never a bad option education is a big part of it. But for me, going to the OHL was great.” -Bode Wilde"
(Fast forward to the 4:10 mark of the audio)
That’s two Islanders prospects who’ve taken that same approach in the same number of seasons. Two years ago, Kieffer Bellows left Boston University in favor of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks stating that the number of games played in the WHL was the factor.
"“I think i just wanted to play more games. I wanted to play 72 games and get used to the seven-game playoff series. Coach (David) Quinn, Albie O’Connell and Scott Young really helped my game so much over the last year and I can’t thank them enough.”"
Kieffer Bellows wanted to get to the NHL as soon as possible. In 2017 he wasn’t yet old enough to play in the AHL so playing major junior hockey, where the season is longer, was his best option. The same was the case for Bode Wilde.
Last season, then finally 19-years-old, Bellows played in the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Just one step removed from the AHL. Now Bode Wilde can do the same.
After an impressive 2018-19 season, the right shot defenseman could take the next step and play in the AHL and be one step removed from the ultimate goal of playing in the NHL.