Bode Wilde's Future with the NY Islanders Hangs in the Balance

2018 NHL Draft - Portraits
2018 NHL Draft - Portraits / Tom Pennington/GettyImages

Hearing your name announced as an NHL draftee is no easy accomplishment, but making the show is even more challenging. For the NY Islanders' second-round pick in 2018, Bode Wilde, his path has led him further from prominence than he was as an 18-year-old.

Drafted out of the USNTDP, Wilde led the team in goals (12) and assists (29) among defensemen as a risk-taking, two-way defenseman.

After falling to the Islanders at No. 41 overall due to what was perceived to be off-ice issues, management sent Wilde to the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL, where he would become one of the league's top defensemen. During his first season with the Spirit, Wilde racked up 70 points (19 goals, 51 assists) in just 62 games - good enough for third-best in the league by a defenseman.

Injured to start the 2019-20 season, Wilde began the year with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers before being returned to Saginaw for the remainder of the season. In 2020-21, Wilde only saw 22 games of action in a shortened season due to the pandemic.

After refusing to be vaccinated before training camp in 2021, Lou Lamoriello elected not to allow Wilde to be the only unvaccinated player in the locker room, loaning the blue liner to Västerviks IK of the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan.

Now 23 years old, Wilde spent this past season buried in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators, managing a 14-point season.

At a crossroads in his career, Wilde is set to become an RFA on July 1. The Isles can offer the 6’3” defenseman a $787,500 qualifying offer by the June 30 deadline, but it seems as if Lamoriello and the organization have no intention of bringing Wilde back. Then again, with Lamoriello (assuming he’s back), it’s never easy to predict his mindset.

It’s been a mutually disappointing four years for the Islanders and Wilde. In desperate need of a defenseman with some offensive flare, Wilde had a pathway to the NHL but hasn’t captured the opportunity on or off the ice.