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Could Penguins Go ‘Big’ at Draft? Matthew Wood Fits the Bill, Idolizes Malkin (+)



NHL Draft, Matthew Wood, Pittsburgh Penguins

NASHVILLE, Tenn  — There is speed, and there is skill aplenty in the 2023 NHL Draft. Yet the Stanley Cup was hoisted by one of the biggest blue lines in the NHL, and scouting eyes are again looking for size, too. Could the Pittsburgh Penguins project a couple of years into the future and select big Matthew Wood with the 14th pick?

Wood is 6-foot-3 (or 6-foot-4, depending on the scouting service) and currently 193 pounds but is one of the youngest members of the 2023 draft eligibles. Wood was the youngest player in the NCAA and likely has a bit more filling out to do as he matriculates in the recently revamped UConn hockey program.

And a little size wouldn’t hurt the Penguins, who have only a few forwards over six feet tall.

The Lethbridge, AB, native forced his way into the first-round conversations this year by making the leap from Junior A to Division 1 and putting up big-time numbers at home and international play. Last season, Wood posted 34 points (11-23-34) in 35 NCAA games. He was also a force with Team Canada at the U-18 World Junior Championships, knocking in seven goals and 13 points in seven games. He also played in the Hlinka Cup for Team Canada.

The potential power forward is polarizing in the amateur draft world. He ranked fourth in Central Scouting’s North American rankings, seventh overall by Chris Peters at FloHockey, but as low as 31 by Smaht Scouting, and his story begins there.

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