May 29, 2013
Photo Credit: Sarah FuquaTweet
Colin Wilson was having a superb year. On a team that sorely needed his spark, his drive, and someone who could drive the net, he was doing all of that well. Frankly, at times he was the lone real offensive threat during the early part of this miserable season. He was taking another step forward in his development, and seemed to have finally found a groove in Barry Trotz’s system. This is the same player who was scratched in favor of Brandon Yip in the playoffs last year before Andrei and Alex had a big time in Scottsdale. A power forward with filthy hands and a strong skating style; we may have seen the tip of the iceberg of young Colin’s potential in the shortened 2013 season
Then, he got hurt. Wilson’s shoulder injury ended his season and started the downward spiral to which doomed the Predators to the near-top of the draft. While durability is not a terribly worrying concern for Wilson, it truncated a breakout year for the Boston University product, and he will have much to prove again next season.
From One Year to the Next
Wilson’s stats might not scream “Stellar Season”, but his game definitely passed the eye test. His seven goals and 19 points came in a mere 25 games. The only statistical measure without dipping into the fancy stats pool is points per game ratio, to which he smashed his own personal best. But mostly, it is the eye test that we’ll refer to as the true measure of his year.
In the past seasons, Wilson always seemed like he was one move away from making an amazing play. Last year he played much better with the puck and is using his frame more. The encouraging thought is that he is still growing and the game is finally starting to slow down for him. We saw Wilson play even stronger on the puck and the Predators had a much more dangerous offense with him on the ice.
Stuff Beyond the Stats
Wilson makes any line better. The plan was to move him to center, his more natural position, during the full season and slide Legwand and/or Mike Fisher to wing. Wilson has held up his end of the bargain, being more responsible on the defensive side. The worry is that he won’t be gun-shy when it comes to physical play. One of the most encouraging elements to the young forward was his offseason work. In addition to his physical conditioning, he worked at the end of the 2012 season with a sports psychologist and the growth has showed on the ice. As this roster gets younger, more will be asked of him.
The Best of Wilson
The goal against St. Louis that managed to ricochet off Gabriel Bourque?
Or the game winner against San Jose in overtime?
Take your pick.
Wilson’s immediate future is still in Nashville. After allegedly being dangled for Rick Nash, he is viewed as part of the core of young forwards that Nashville will continue to march forward with. The Predators may not have the talent up and down the roster at the forward position that Chicago, Colorado, Minnesota, or even St. Louis may have (yet), but Wilson has the raw physical tools to enter the conversation with his peers on those clubs.
That said, his game still has a few minor holes.
He’s been guilty of trying too hard to create the play himself instead of being able to pair up with a linemate and rush. Someone of that may be due to his roster spot assigned him to the third line at times, but when he has a pair of guys he can skate with, he’s been swell. He was skating with Martin Erat and Jason Arnott during the playoffs his rookie year against the eventual cup champion Blackhawks, but was scratched against Anaheim during the first round the previous year. When he found success in 2011-12, it was when he was with a proven forward like David Legwand.
Wilson is no longer the subject of fan submitted trade proposals, due to his stellar play and friendly contract. With the youth on the roster maturing and a pair of a-list prospects being added to the lineup in Forsberg and the number four pick in the upcoming draft, more will be asked of Colin Wilson. Just like last season, the Predators will need him to be successful in order for the team to be as well.
He is expected to miss four to six months after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder early in May, after having his right shoulder worked on in April.
In college, students have the option to take equivalency tests such as CLEP to receive full credit for already knowing the material. Wilson was around for about half the season, so that analogy doesn’t quite work. He was there for half the semester, but was the valedictorian of the forwards before having to take a medical leave. His performance was an A when he was on the ice, but he took a rather nasty hit that mightíve warranted a major penalty. We can’t fault him for that.
Wilson was on a point per game pace during February and March, and had a 2G, 2A game the night before his shoulder was hurt. However, the most important ability is availability. And we’re the tough old schoolmaster who sneers at the note from the doctor, so B minus.