Matthew Wood transfers to Minnesota. Photos courtesy of the University of Connecticut and the NHL.
Matthew Wood transfers to Minnesota. Photos courtesy of the University of Connecticut and the NHL.

Matthew Wood Picks Minnesota Out of Transfer Portal Over Michigan and North Dakota

Minneapolis, Minn. — Gophers coach Bob Motzko hinted throughout the season that just because Minnesota had not been very aggressive in the transfer portal the past couple years didn’t mean they were going to avoid dipping their toes in the portal at some point. Sunday afternoon there were two tweets just minutes apart from Mike McMahon and Mike Grinnell signaling that the Gophers might have made the biggest splash in the college hockey portal this offseason by adding Nashville first round pick Matthew Wood to their roster.

Wood is a 6’ 4′ ‘ forward that made the move to UConn from the BCHL’s ​​Victoria Grizzlies as a draft eligible freshman and was nearly a point per game player for the Huskies with 11 goals and 23 assists in 35 games played. After being selected 15th by the Predators in 2023, Wood followed up his freshman year performance with a sophomore season with 16 goals and 12 assists in 35 games. Wood also made Canada’s World Junior Championship U-20 squad where he scored two goals and two assists in five games played.

While Minnesota missed out on Cole Eiserman for the 2024-25 season after his decommitment, Wood instantly replaces him in the Gopher line chart as a top-six forward with size that was a bit of a gap on the roster. Wood was criticized by many scouts leading into his draft year for his skating, but it’s been a point of emphasis for him in his training that’s allowed him to continue his development.

Wood reportedly had interest in transferring to Michigan and North Dakota according to McMahon and Grinnell. The big forward just turned 19 in February and is known for his shooting and stickhandling. He was ranked No. 4 in NHL Central Scouting’s 2023 midterm rankings trailing Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli and Will Smith. Wood’s father, Jamie, was assistant coach for Gopher women’s hockey team under Brad Frost from 2008-10; the Gophers were 58-14-8 (.775) and reached back-to-back Frozen Fours with Wood behind the bench

So far 272 players have entered the transfer portal this season and 56 of them already know where they will be playing next year. The non-graduate portal is open from 3/31 – 5/14. Grad students can enter the portal at anytime and the 24-25 season will be the last year for players to get an extra year for COVID.

Minnesota’s biggest question mark headed into this off-season was whether Jimmy Snuggerud would return and his announcement on April 2nd provided the Gophers with a lot of momentum going into the off-season. The program could potentially have a few fifth-year COVID players in Mason Nevers and Mike Koster returning for an extra year, but it’s still undecided. There are also a few players like Rhett Pitlick, Oliver Moore, Sam Rinzel that are potential early departures, but there are no signs of them moving on to professional contracts so far.

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