April 21, 2016

Randy Wood

Not a lot of NHL hockey players come from the Ivy Leagues, but Yale's Randy Wood left the white collar jobs behind for years of digging trenches in the NHL.

It wasn't as if Wood was expected to be a great NHL prospect. He was never drafted by a NHL team. It wasn't until his final year at Yale that he got noticed by NHL general managers. He was a ECAC all star that season with 25 goals and 55 points in 31 contests. He finished the season by acquitting himself very nicely on the world stage, representing Team USA at the world championships.

The Princeton, New Jersey native chose to stay close to home and signed with the New York Islanders in 1986. He spent the 1986-87 season mostly in the minors, but was called up late and finished the season and played the entire playoffs with the Isles. By 1987-88, Wood dressed for 75 games, scoring an impressive 22 goals and 16 assists.

Wood was an excellent skater and good puck handler, but he lacked the necessary vision to become a NHL star. He would use his sturdiness and physical play to carve out a consistent career. He played three more seasons with the Islanders, playing at least 74 games each season and twice scoring 24 goals.

By the turn of the decade Wood had established himself as one of the top players in USA hockey. He represented Team USA at the 1991 Canada Cup tournament. This tournament preceded the World Cup of Hockey and the Olympics as the ultimate in top-level hockey supremacy. Wood helped the Americans advance to the Canada Cup finals for the very first time.

Early in the 1991-92 season, Wood was traded upstate to the Buffalo Sabres as part of the big Pat Lafontaine/Pierre Turgeon swap. Wood enjoyed another three years with the Sabres, scoring 22, 18 and 22 goals respectively. He earned a lot of respect for his work ethic and consistency, and surprised many with his ability to work well in traffic.

The Toronto Maple Leafs claimed Wood on waivers in 1995. Wood spent spent parts of two seasons in Toronto before bouncing to Dallas and then back to the Islanders to finish his career in 1997. By this point he was utilized almost strictly as a defensive checker.

Wood retired having played in 741 games, scoring 175 goals, 159 assists and 334 points

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