In the first of potentially several off-season trades, the San Jose Sharks flipped forward Adam Helewka to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Kyle Wood. The 6-foot-7 Wood was acquired by the Coyotes in the Mikkel Boedker trade, having originally been selected in the third round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Avalanche.
Wood’s professional career got off to a stellar start with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners in 2016. An AHL All-Star in his rookie season, the right-handed defenseman put up 43 points in 68 games and won the hardest-shot competition. However, his play tailed off sharply towards the end of the season and that trend continued this year, with Tucson’s defensive depth shunting him off the power-play and depriving him of vital ice-time. In 49 games, Wood put up a mere 19 points.
Despite his size, shot, and offensive instincts, Wood’s skating remains a major work in progress and is the primary reason the 22-year-old has yet to appear in the NHL. However, he remains an intriguing prospect whose booming shot and power-play abilities could see him play a role in the NHL as a depth defensemen, much like former Shark (and current Predator) Matt Irwin.
In a press release issued by the club, General Manager Doug Wilson commented on Wood’s ability.
“Kyle possesses a rare combination of size and skill on the blueline and we’re excited to add him to our organization,” said Wilson. “He was an AHL All-Star in his first professional season and we think his game will continue to evolve.”
Helewka, the Sharks’ former fourth-round draft pick, is a forward best known for his junior exploits, leading the Red-Deer Rebels to a Memorial Cup appearance in 2016. However, the 22-year-old forward has yet to convert his juniors success into any NHL ice-time, instead bouncing around the Barracuda lineup and putting up 67 points in 121 career games. The 22-year-old left-winger will look to get his career back on track with the Roadrunners.
Wood’s acquisition, meanwhile, helps the team fill an immediate need, with the Sharks’ prospect pipeline rather shorn of right-handed defensemen. Though Curtis Pashelka of Mercury News believes Wood could challenge for a seventh defenseman spot in camp, the Wood will likely start the 2018-19 season with the Barracuda, but could see some time with the big club in the case of injury.