For some time now we’ve compared three college defenders and their development as they move through the NCAA and (now) begin pro careers.
The pecking order has been the same all down the line: Taylor Chorney, Jeff Petry and then Cody Wild.
I have suggested from time to time that it’s too close to call in terms of who will be the better pro, and this winter’s top 20 is going to reflect the point beautifully. Taylor Chorney is struggling at the AHL level, Jeff Petry’s indicators are somewhat mixed and Cody Wild is having a party.
When turning pro, Wild described his style like this: “I like to jump in the rush. Move the puck. I like to get in the offense a lot. Play defense as well.”
Earlier this season, Falcons coach Jeff Truitt: “You can just tell that he’s got an offensive flair, he likes to jump into the rush and he’s certainly been a contributor with the team. It’s a learning process no doubt and coming out of college to the American League is obviously an adjustment for him. We’ve had him in to watch tape and he’s learning, it’s part of the education and the process a first year player has to go through but he’s been a good student so far.”
Well, yes. Yes he has.
Based on scoresheets it appears Wild has played significant minutes with Theo Peckham and (since he returned) Mathieu Roy this season and against fairly difficult opponents. (NOTE: The Falcons have a strange rotation in which several defenders rotate through as a healthy scratch. Among the D used in this way are Sebastien Bisaillon, Bryan Young and Wild). When Wild is in the lineup, good things happen around him and he seems to be sending things in the right direction with consistency.
Wild’s +6 leads all defenders and he is also leading a slow Falcon-race for top rookie D offensively:
- Cody Wild 15gp, 1-4-5 +6
- Taylor Chorney 23gp, 0-5-5 -10
- Robbie Bina 11gp, 0-3-3 -2
- Josef Hrabal 10gp, 0-1-1 E
So, you may be asking yourself “if he’s passing all these other guys on the depth chart why isn’t he ranked higher on the Oilers top 20?”
- The top scoring rookie defender in the AHL this season is Ottawa farmhand Mattias Karlsson, who is 24gp, 4-12-16 -7 for Binghampton in 08-09.
- The Oilers most recent rookie AHL All-Star defender was Doug Lynch who at 20-years old went 11-25-36 in 74 games as a rookie. Wild isn’t in this territory.
- Wild has played well in what can only be described as part time duty. He’s in that bizarre rotation that includes Bisaillon and Wild, and I think it’s reasonable to knock all three a peg or two based on the coach’s decision. He must have his reasons.
- All of his points have come on the powerplay.
In spite of some fine indicators, the middling offense combined with a number of healthy scratches tells me Wild hasn’t gained enough traction as a prospect since turning pro to warrant a move up the prospect chart this winter. A player to watch, though.