The Toronto Marlies have signed WHL Spokane Chiefs centre Riley Woods to a one-year AHL contract following his graduation from major junior hockey.

Who is Riley Woods?

Woods is from Regina, Saskatchewan and started his WHL career in their organization as a left winger. In his first year and a half with the team, his age-17 and age-18 years, he was buried behind star talent like Sam Steel, now-teammate Adam Brooks, and Nick Henry. He was traded to the Spokane Chiefs and had 34 points in 62 games across the two clubs.

On the Chiefs, he played with more players familiar to the Marlies in Hudson Elynuik and Leafs draft pick Filip Kral (who is officially a defenseman). In his first full year (age 19), he was still stuck playing second-line fiddle to Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Ty Smith, and Kailer Yamamoto. He put up 57 points in 72 games in his second season.

This year, a lot of those star players left for the pros, meaning Woods was left as one of the few veterans on a very young and inexperienced Chiefs team. Nevertheless, that team made it all the way to the third round of the WHL playoffs before losing to the Vancouver Giants (who then lost to Ian Scott’s Prince Albert Raiders).

With so many older players gone from the team, the role of first-line centre became open. Woods, who had never played centre in his life, took the job and put up a very impressive 75 points in 65 games, including 14 points in 15 playoff games.

Stats, Quotes, and Video

Woods is a 5’10” centre who will be 21 years old by the end of June, and he earned himself a spot on the WHL second All-Star team this season.

These are some quotes from Woods and his coach Dan Lambert from Spokane.

“Spokane has given me a huge opportunity to show what I could do,” said Woods, a former star with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. “(The Chiefs) are playing me in every situation. I can’t thank them enough for that. I’ve been really fortunate to have a few points here in the playoffs and a really good season. I’ve grown as a player for sure (since coming to Spokane). It has been nothing but great.” - Regina Recorder and Times

“He’s always had the skill level, but now he’s stronger physically and probably stronger mentally,” coach Dan Lambert said. “We’re playing him at a different position, which I think he feels pretty comfortable at now.” - Spokane Spokesman

“Defense creates offense,” Wood said. “When you play good defense in your own end, offense comes with it.” - Spokane Spokesman