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Why Miles Wood And The Avalanche Were Always Going To Find Each Other



Miles Wood Avalanche

If there is anything I’ve learned in my 6+ years of covering the Colorado Avalanche, it’s that they always get their man. It may take months, sometimes years, but if they’re interested in a player, they usually find a way to make it happen.

That was the case with Andre Burakovsky. That was the case with Artturi Lehkonen. And now? They finally got their man in Miles Wood.

“Talking to Chris MacFarland, I’d been on their radar for a few years now,” Wood told the Avalanche media after signing a six-year deal with the team. “To hear that was a boost of confidence for me. Just to play for a GM, and a team, and a coach that really wanted me, that was the most important thing.”

This time, the feeling was definitely mutual.

“From the start, Colorado was always a team that I would love to play for,” Wood said.

Part of that is his love for the outdoors, but part of that is the way the team plays. Wood is someone built to play exactly how the Avalanche like to play, and coming from the New Jersey Devils, it will be nothing new for him.

“That was our structure in New Jersey as well,” he said. “We are a fast, transition team. We were a fast team. I know the Avs have a lot of speed too, so hopefully I can fit right in there and the transition won’t be that hard.”

On the Devils, Wood mostly played in a fourth line role this past season. He finished 12th on their team in even-strength time-on-ice. He performed admirably in those minutes when it came to production, finishing 8th in points-per-60. Colorado is banking on his production staying strong in an increased role.

With Gabriel Landeskog expected to miss the entire season, and with the bottom six being undersized last year, the team wanted to get a little grittier.

It’s no surprise they targeted Wood.

“First and foremost, I’m a hard-nosed player,” he said. “I like to get to the inside, net-front guy. I’ll stick up for my teammates. And most importantly, I just like to play hard.”

That’s exactly what Colorado’s management saw as well.

“He’s a big body winger that can skate,” Avalanche GM Chris MacFarland said. “He clearly has an Avs identity for how we want to play the game. He’s got a little bit of a wrecking ball philosophy with how he plays the game. That size component is something we felt we needed to add to the mix.”

And the Avalanche are hoping he can play that way for a long time. Colorado gave him a six-year deal, one of the longer contracts handed out in free agency. They did that to keep the yearly cap hit down, according to MacFarland.

Wood is just two years removed from major surgery on his hip, which he said fixed the problem completely. At just 27, and with a “new hip,” it’s reasonable to expect him to maintain his current level of play for most of that contract. However, it was still a surprise to most that he got such a long deal.

Not to him, though.

“That was my goal heading into free agency, trying to get term,” Wood said. “I was fortunate enough to get that. This free agency, a lot of one and two-year deals were handed out, so I feel very fortunate in the sense that I got a six-year deal.”

Wood is expected to be 1/3 of a new-look third line that will likely have Ross Colton in the middle. Between the two of them, the third line should pack a little more punch next season.

Wood has the look of a grizzled third-liner, with the size, the beard, and missing teeth.

Now, he’s just got to show he can handle the job on the ice.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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