NHL Draft

Matthew Wood 2023 NHL Draft Profile – Nashville Predators #15 Pick

The 2023 NHL Draft class is shaping up to be one of the most explosive and deep classes in recent memory. The projected first round is littered with offensive firepower and athletes who might legitimately have Hall of Fame potential. The mid first round projections this draft are difficult to rank, but Matthew Wood makes a strong case to be a top-15 selection.

The Lethbridge product enters the draft as one of the most intriguing prospects with his unique combination of size and skill. After a phenomenal two years in the BCHL, Wood opted to attend the University of Connecticut in the NCAA.

2023 NHL Draft Update: Matthew Wood was selected 15th overall by the Nashville Predators.

Who is Matthew Wood?

Matthew WoodC/RWR6’3″ / 190cm193lbs / 87kg

Wood was born on February 6, 2005 in Lethbridge, Alberta. Matthew played in the BCHL before leaving for UConn in the NCAA. Wood was also drafted in the WHL by the Regina Pats, opting not to play with Connor Bedard.

At 17 years old, Wood led the UCONN Huskies in scoring as a rookie. He’s still a prospect that will likely return to the NCAA for a year or two and further his development regardless of which team drafts him.

Wood’s on-ice production

Wood is an interesting prospect with great size, shot and hands. With great scoring ability and good hockey IQ, Wood could project on either the wing or at centre in the NHL.

SeasonDraft RelativeLeagueTeamGPGAP
2018–19D-4VIBHLNanaimo Clippers U15 A15852110
2019–20D-3CSSHL U15West Van Academy Bantam Prep30403171
2020–21D-2BCEHL U18North Island Silvertips U18 AAA0000
D-2BCHLVictoria Grizzlies185813
2021-22D-1BCHLVictoria Grizzlies46454085
D-1WJC-18Canada U184202
2022–23D+0NCAAUniversity of Connecticut35112334
D+0WJC-18Canada U1877613

Wood raised his draft stock tremendously after last season with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL. With 45 goals and 85 points in 46 games, Wood was the league’s top scorer as a 16-year-old and also took home the rookie of the year award.

Wood was selected by the Sioux Falls Stampede 122nd overall in the 2021 USHL futures draft and 41st overall in the 2020 WHL Bantam draft by the Regina Pats. Woods passed on both the USHL and an opportunity to play with Connor Bedard (who was selected first overall the same year as Woods in the WHL draft). Wood was looking for more of a challenge to compete against stronger physical players in the NCAA, citing his need to get stronger with his large frame at 6’4″.

Wood burst onto the NCAA scene this season and made for a name for himself, leading the team in scoring as a 17-year-old rookie. Wood showcased his lethal wrist shot for 11 goals in 35 games. With his high hockey IQ, soft hands, and long reach, the forward showed his ability to maintain puck possession and make smart passes as well.

Wood had a very consistent season in the NCAA and displayed a level of maturity you rarely see in a 17-year-old. Wood’s strong and consistent start to his NCAA career is a positive indication the young man will transition to the NHL game nicely if his development continues to progress at this pace.

Matthew Wood’s strengths


Wood’s size is very attractive with his skillset. Standing 6’4″ and almost 200lbs, that’s a great size in the NHL as-is, but still a teenager, I’d expect both of those numbers to rise. Wood uses his size well on the offensive end but could utilize it better on the defensive end. He seems to hesitate to utilize his body in puck battles which can result in loose pucks being given up. As a young player getting used to his body I would expect Wood to develop more physical game as he continues to play in the NCAA.


Wood’s best asset outside of his size is his shot—more specifically his wrist shot. Most of the goals he scored for UConn this season came off blistering wrist shots to the top corners of the net. Wood has exceptional accuracy and again, his size is beneficial to helping him create great velocity on said shots. His release is quick and freezes goalies. Wood easily possesses an above-average NHL level shot already.


Hands and size rarely come together in one package. Wood utilizes both to perfection in the offensive zone. His smooth puck handling in tight and long stick combine to create a defenders nightmare. Whether it’s finishing in tight to the net, shaking a defender below the goal line, or sending a defenceman in circles off the rush, Wood can use his hands to create plays rare for a player his size.

Demeanor and IQ

Wood displays a great level of hockey IQ while carrying himself well on the ice. He’s a player with leadership capabilities, great work ethic and a consistency in his play that comes from confidence. Wood creates opportunities with the puck utilizing his patience and ability to maintain possession as a way to draw extra defenders and dish off a seam pass.

Matthew Wood’s areas of improvement

Two-way game

Wood has a decent two-way game as is but will definitely need to improve to get to the next level. He struggles along the wall in the defensive end and sometimes looses puck battles on his own end despite his size. Not to discredit his effort on the defensive end, you’d just hope to see such a big player utilize his physicality more efficiently to optimize how he can use his hands in the defensive end.


Wood’s biggest area of improvement is his skating. His top-end speed is decent and can give him good opportunities off of the rush but he lacks a quickness to his game. His acceleration will need work going forward. Wood’s lack of acceleration is most noticeable on the rush and in breakouts. He has the hands to skate through five defenders, but not the legs at this point.

That said, Woods has good edge work and utilizes this skill well to protect pucks and shake defenders low in the offensive zone.

Matthew Wood’s comparables

I feel Wood has a fairly accurate comparison active in the NHL. Tage Thompson has the same shooting and handling ability as Wood with a slightly smaller frame. Jason Robertson is another interesting comparison closer in size to Wood.

Fit with the Flames

Wood is a promising prospect who will likely be around when the Flames select at 16th overall. His size and shot alone make him a interesting player that has potential on the wing or at centre if his skating improves.

Wood is a sniper at heart, someone the Flames have been desperately needing since the departure of Jarome Iginla. I think he’d be a welcomed addition to the organization.


Wood has the potential to grow into a perennial 30-goal scorer, maybe even some 40- and 50-goal seasons if he continues on the same development arch as similar players like those mentioned above. There might be some adjusting for Wood at the next level but his early success in the NCAA makes him a no-brainer if I’m the Flames at #16.

In other classes, Wood could be a top-5 pick—many have argued he should be considered in the top 10 this year. If there aren’t any surprises on draft day, Wood going between 15th to 20th overall would be what many expect.

Wood has the potential to grow into a great scorer in the NHL.

Risk: 1.5/5

Reward: 4/5

Projection: Top-six goal scorer

All TWC 2023 NHL Draft Profiles

Check out more of our individual player profiles of selected 2023 NHL Draft prospects:
Connor Bedard | Matvei Michkov | Adam Fantilli | Leo Carlsson | Zach Benson | Andrew Cristall | Oliver Moore | Will Smith | Ryan Leonard | Eduard Sale | Colby Barlow | Axel Sandin Pellikka | Dalibor Dvorsky | Brayden Yager | David Reinbacher | Nate Danielson | Riley Heidt | Matthew Wood | Quentin Musty | Mikhail Gulyayev | Calum Ritchie | Gabe Perrault | Jayden Perron | Ethan Gauthier | Dmitri Simashev | Samuel Honzek | Lukas Dragicevic | William Whitelaw | Otto Stenberg | Gavin Brindley | Daniil But

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