Nashville Predators Prospect Matthew Wood Enters NCAA Transfer Portal

One of the best players in NCAA hockey appears to be switching hockey sweaters for the 2024-25 season.
Massachusetts-Lowell v Connecticut
Massachusetts-Lowell v Connecticut / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

Matthew Wood, last year's first round pick and 15th-overall selection by the Nashville Predators, is making a big switch at the NCAA college ranks as he plans to transfer from the UCONN Huskies.

In what was a loaded first round draft class for the NHL in 2023, Wood was selected by the Predators as a pure offensive talent that can play wing or center and has a high ceiling at just 19-years-old.

Wood finished off his second season with UCONN playing in 35 games and tallying 28 points. He will look to transfer to a program that will showcase his skills more. UCONN didn't finish in the top-25 rankings.

This is a really significant transfer portal move for the college ranks. Wood has an opportunity to join a program with more talent and more on the national stage like Minnesota, Wisconsin or North Dakota.

Wood also played for Canada at the World Junior Championship this past year and put up two goals and two assists in five games.

This move to a bigger program by Wood, most likely the Big Ten, should really ramp up his development. He's obviously a couple years away from being ready for the professional ranks, but playing higher level college hockey will give us a better idea of how his game is rounding out.


Wood Enters NCAA Transfer Portal as a Top Target

Wood is known for his puck skills and having a really strong wrist shot. Think Filip Forsberg type of shooter. As you would expect from a 19-year-old, Wood has plenty to improve upon including consistency in his skating without the puck. All things that will come with more experience, and more valuable competition to go up against with his transfer to a bigger program.

One of the main reasons Wood has so much upside for eventually becoming a legit NHL prospect and everyday player is his pure size. He's a big player at 6'4" and as time goes on, he'll become a more physical presence and a power forward style player. Again, think Forsberg and how he is able to maneuver his way through the zone to find shots on goal.

It's easy to see that Wood will translate to the professional level pretty easy just with his size alone, and possibly transferring to a Big Ten program will be much more beneficial to his development.

The Predators' prospect pool as gradually reloaded over the past few years and become widely-considered a top-10 system in the NHL among scouts. They have really focused on developing their forwards and stockpiling a lot of offensive talent.

With Wood likely being a couple years away, you still have ahead of him Egor Afanasyev, Joakim Kemell, Fedor Svechkov and Zachary L'Heureux. That's just your top forwards and not even counting Philip Tomasino and Juuso Parssinen who have plenty of NHL experience but were sent back down to the AHL ranks.

It will be fun to watch Wood join an elite level program and play with more talented players, and against better competition, in 2024-25 for his Junior season.