Robert Morris University junior Cody Wydo may not be a household name yet, but he could be soon. The Southgate, MI native has been tearing things up in Moon Township, PA this season, a performance that has drawn the attention of NHL teams.
It has also made Wydo (pronounced “why- doe’) the prime target of the opposing teams’ top defensemen. And that’s just fine by him because it has little, if any, effect on the way he plays.
“It’s a good challenge, especially when they’re zeroing in on you,” said Wydo. “They’ll still be all over me no matter what. All I try to do is play my game, go out and try and find some open space because once you get your chances, you have to try and capitalize on them.”
Wydo currently ranks second nationally with 30 goals and is tied for fifth with 52 points in 41 games to date. He also has three hat tricks, which leads the nation. Wydo’s 30 goals is a new school single-season record. He is the only player in the program’s 10-year history that has recorded consecutive 20-plus goal seasons. Last season, Wydo finished with 21 goals.
Part of what has made Wydo so good this season is his ability to use his quickness advantageously in creating scoring opportunities. He possesses great hands and can be elusive. Wydo has excellent vision and his sense of anticipation is also quite good. He has done a great job of making the most out of the opportunities that he’s been given this season, a fact that is not lost on the talented junior.
“I think one of my strengths is being able to capitalize on the chances that I get,” stated Wydo. “I think some of my strengths is just being able to read the plays, having good hockey sense and just being able to see where the open ice is and find where my teammates are and helping them out.”
One NHL team that has had Wydo on their radar for sometime is the New Jersey Devils, whose prospect camp he attended last summer. Like other players who attend NHL prospect camps, it was a great experience for Wydo and one where he learned many things that have, and can continue to help shape, his game.
“When I went to the Devils camp over the summer, I learned that I needed to get stronger, get a better feel for the game, and work harder game in and game out,” admitted Wydo. “So I’ve been able to translate all of that into my game this year and am really happy about that. The Devils really taught me how to battle better in the corners, and get a couple of quick steps off of the corners to be able to put pressure on the defensemen when I’m trying to walk out of the corner with the puck into the slot area. From there, it’s just being able to capitalize on chances that I get.”
Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley has also been instrumental in Wydo’s development.
“When I first came to RMU, I was really an offensive guy and Coach Schooley really put the emphasis on working on the defensive side of the game,” said Wydo. “So he’s really been able to help me a lot with that. That’s translated really well because I’ve been a plus-player every year so far. I think having that defense-first mentality has actually really helped me because we play more offense once we get the puck out of the (defensive) zone.”
With the real possibility that NHL teams will come calling at season’s end, Wydo will have to make a decision on whether to turn pro or finish out his collegiate career. Regardless of when he leaves Robert Morris University, one thing is clear – Cody Wydo has firmly established himself as one of the program’s all-time best players and has set the new standard for excellence for that program.
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