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Colin Wilson finally “buying into” the Nashville Predators system?


Dec 30, 2013


While it’s a relatively small sample size to select from, Colin Wilson’s play in his previous handful of games could possibly be some of the best hockey he’s played in his five-year NHL career. Already on pace to break his career-best point total of 35 points in 68 games during the 2011-2012 season, Wilson may finally be evolving into the player that Nashville hoped he would become when they drafted him seventh overall in the 2008 Entry Draft.

Exactly one month ago after a 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, Predators head coach Barry Trotz didn’t pull any punches when he spoke about the performance of Colin Wilson:

“He’s gotta score for us. He’s got four goals and we’re getting to 26 games [on the season], he’s gotta be a producer for us. Twice he had a chance to be the hero tonight and unfortunately he wasn’t able to beat [Mason],” said Trotz.

Wilson, who couldn’t seem to find the back of the net on any number of chances he had found in his last two to three games at the time, seemingly snake-bitten. One goal, one assist, and seven games after being called out, he was a healthy scratch for Nashville’s December 19th game in Tampa Bay against the Lightning.

In his five games back after being a healthy scratch for the first time this season, Wilson has posted five points in five games (2g, 3a). He’s currently riding a three-game point streak.

“I’ve had talks with [Trotz], and Poile as well. I’ve got to start producing. Hopefully tonight and the last couple of games are indicative of the rest of my season,” said Wilson.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on Colin. He’s buying into what we need him to do and what he can be. It’s what Colin can be- the big body shooting the puck and he got rewarded right off the bat. He got the puck and started taking pucks to the net,” said Trotz.

When Wilson is playing how the Predators envisioned he would, Nashville is winning hockey games. In the three games where he has recorded multiple points this season, the Predators earned victories by scores of 6-4 (November 6th at Colorado), 4-2 (November 21st at Toronto), and 6-4 (December 30th vs Detroit). It’s very obvious that if Wilson performs as a top-six forward, Nashville’s offense comes alive.

“Good things are happening because all the right things are there; the attention to detail, the constant competing, moving the feet, and making it hard to defend against him rather than making it easy to defend against him,” said Trotz. “He’s getting rewarded for it, and I’m really happy for him.”

“He’s played great. He’s got a lot of skill and he can make real good plays. He’s really played well for us,” said Predators forward Mike Fisher.

Slowly climbing their way back into the Western Conference playoff picture, the Predators are now seven points back of the final Wild Card spot. Nashville has 19 games left until the two-week Olympic break, they could have goaltender Pekka Rinne return relatively soon, and they’ve won their previous two games to cap off the 2013 calendar year and hopefully springboard into 2014.

“We have to keep doing what we’re doing. We have to keep rolling. There’s a lot of games in a short period of time,” said Wilson.

For Nashville to have any chance at reaching the postseason, Wilson’s performance the rest of the season is going to be key to where they finish.

Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua