ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. Defenseman Bode Wilde is the No. 17-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the 16th overall selection at the draft.
Every June, NHL teams are faced with the difficult decision on which players to select at the annual draft, similar to the tough decision that Bode Wilde had to make at the age of 8.
Wilde was born in Montreal, Quebec, to a Canadian father, Oliver Eichwede, and an American mother, Fiona Wilde, both of which's sport of choice was skiing. His parents were both highly touted as professional skiers and ski coaches in Vermont, and they even had Bode enrolled in their classes.
Living in such a big winter sports hub like Montreal, not only was Wilde a skier, but he began ice skating at 3 years old and transitioned to playing hockey soon after.
Wilde, a dual citizen, was budding into a big hockey fan and player, but with the pressures of following in his parents' footsteps (or ski boots, rather), he faced a tough decision: skiing or hockey?
"I couldn't do both sports since they are both in the winter, so I had to make a decision and hockey won," Wilde told USAHockey.com.
Who knows what would have come of his life had he stuck to skiing, but from the looks of it Wilde's hockey career has been a success so far and is only just beginning. The young defenseman is expected to be selected in the first round of this year's NHL Draft.
Ranked No. 17 on the NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters (No. 7 among North American defensemen), Wilde is one of the bigger, more physical blueliners on the list at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds.
Not only known for his physical presence on the ice, Wilde also possesses promising offensive upside, notching 41 points (12 goals, 29 assists) in 61 games with the U.S. Under-18 team this past season at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program. He led all American defensemen in goals, assists, points, power-play goals and shots on goal, while also owning an impressive plus-35 rating.
"Wilde's compete level has been really high, and he's defending hard and plays physical," NTDP coach Seth Appert told NHL.com last fall. "He's activating in the rush as we want him too. The more he learns that give-and-go style, the more dangerous he'll become."
Video: Bode Wilde Scouting Report
Wilde's sneaky offensive prowess was prominent at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, where he put up four points (two goals, four assists) in six games.
At the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship, he appeared in all seven contests and helped the United States to a silver medal.
Regardless of what NHL team picks Wilde, the D-man is heading to the University of Michigan at the start of the 2018-19 season, a school that he has had his eye on for a while.
Despite a number of colleges clamoring for his services, Wilde eventually attracted the attention of Michigan head coach Mel Pearson while the D-man was playing with the Chicago Mission program
After meeting with Pearson, Wilde officially committed to the Wolverines, fulfilling his childhood dream.
"My first college hockey game I ever went to was at the University of Michigan and that's pretty special to be going there," Wilde told the USA Today Network in April. "I'm a die-hard Michigan fan, and I've always been a fan of all their athletics and just the school in general. The school is unbelievable, and Ann Arbor is beautiful."
Wilde's heart has always been in Michigan and now he'll get to stay there for college as Ann Arbor is just a short 20-mile trip on the highway from the Plymouth, where the U.S. National Team Development Program is based.
"I love Michigan, the state, I love the school," Wilde told WXYX-TV Detroit Channel 7's Brad Galli.
"It's going to be awesome. I've been to Yost (the Wolverines' hockey arena) a few times to watch some games, and I've gotten chills in the crowd. Being on the ice will be something special."
While Yost Ice Arena boasts a respectable 5,800-seat venue, Wilde might someday be playing in front of crowds more than three times that size in the NHL.