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Wilde hopes to carve path with Islanders

Defenseman selected in second round of 2018 NHL Draft known for offense, physicality

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- Bode Wilde has taken notice of defensemen who play a similar style and were able to make an impact in the NHL at a young age. 

He hopes to do the same in the near future with the New York Islanders.

"A guy like Zach Werenski, Charlie McAvoy, Seth Jones … guys that came into the League and were dominant at young age," Wilde, 18, said at Islanders mini camp last month, shortly after being a second-round pick (No. 41) at the 2018 NHL Draft. "Those are guys I want to be like.

"I'd say I'm a big offensive defenseman. I bring a physical edge too; I defend hard and I play with passion."

Video: NHL Draft 2018: Bode Wilde

A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Wilde (6-foot-2, 198 pounds) grew up in Montreal before leaving for Michigan to play youth hockey when he was 12 years old. He played for the United States National Team Development Program last season and led defensemen in goals (11), assists (25) and points (36) in 61 games. He also played seven games and helped the U.S. win the silver medal at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 World Championship. 

"Growing up in Montreal, it's hard not to be a Habs fan," Wilde said of the Montreal Canadiens. "I liked them when I was younger. I lived in Detroit, I lived in Chicago, so I got to see those teams play, so I liked Chicago too. But I'm excited to be here and this is my team now. 

"Obviously, [the Islanders] have great history here. They have a very good young team. I'm just real excited."

Wilde initially wanted to play college hockey and committed to attend Harvard University and the University of Michigan. But a longer schedule at the junior level became too enticing, so that has since become his next destination. His rights in the Ontario Hockey League are owned by Saginaw. 

"I think the CHL (Canadian Hockey League) is the place for me," Wilde said. "I'll be playing in the OHL next year. I'm not sure where yet. It's all being taken care of and I'll probably know pretty soon." 

Wilde was the second defenseman selected by the Islanders at the 2018 draft; he joined Noah Dobson, who was taken in the first round (No. 12). Brent Thompson, who coaches Bridgeport of the American Hockey League and ran Islanders mini camp, said Wilde was impressive.

"I'm really excited about Wilde; he was outstanding," Thompson said. "He was one of the guys that jumped out at me as well.

"I think we stole him. In my mind, we've got an elite player in the middle of the second round. I'm excited to see how he progresses and where he is at training camp." 

Wilde was certain his name was going to be called at American Airlines Center in Dallas during the first round of the draft, but he had to wait for the second day to find out where he'd be headed. He plans on using the fact that several teams passed up on him as motivation.

"I was definitely a little disappointed," Wilde said. "But I couldn't be more excited to be here. A couple of teams made a mistake passing up on me, and I'll make sure they know that in a few years. I'm going to work my tail off here and show these guys that they didn't make a mistake."

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