In the weeks leading up to the new season, we've previewed the Nashville Predators on a player-by-player basis, examining their role on the squad and expectations relative to capabilities. We now come to the end of the feature with Colin Wilson.
When the Nashville Predators traded Jason Arnott, many a fan's thoughts turned to Colin Wilson, considered the heir apparent to Nashville's top center position. Wilson was drafted 7th overall in 2008 after a successful career at Boston University where he won the national championship. Along with Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty, Wilson has the potential to be one of the crown jewels of the 2008 draft.
A US junior national team star, Hobey Baker award finalist, national champion, and the organization's top prospect; Colin Wilson is rightfully expected to do great things. We'll examine his sophomore season after the jump.
Top six forward and offensive catalyst. With the acquisition of Matthew Lombardi, Wilson will not be required to step directly into Arnott's shoes as some had theorized. It's a perfect stop-gap for him as he develops further into his potential. Wilson will be a key cog on the power play and relied upon to make the players around him better.
The Predators have long used the scoring-by-committee approach, and Wilson will be expected to contribute much like a veteran in 2010-11. Without a premiere scorer, all of the Preds' top six forwards will need to be in the 45-60 point range. I don't think Wilson takes a huge goal scoring jump like Patric Hornqvist, but Barry Trotz should be displeased with anything under 40 points in a healthy year.
Wilson enters the second year of his 3 year entry level contract, which sees him paid $875,000 a season. Potential bonuses bump his cap hit up to $1,725,000, though, and his deal will expire the same time as Ryan Suter's, Joel Ward's, JP Dumont's, and Cody Franson's. That certainly promises to be an intriguing summer.
Colin struggled with a gimpy groin for much of 2009, which surely hampered his production. The injury did not, however, prevent him from scoring his first career NHL goal in his college town of Boston and being named the AHL's Rookie of the Month in January.
Colin Wilson exudes skill. His poise on the ice and decision making reflect that of a player far older; so it is easy for Predators fans to hope for perhaps more than they'll get in year 2. That said, the statistical jump from NHL freshman to sophomore can be large (see: Stamkos, Steven); and Wilson is certainly capable of such improvement. Lets put "Willy" down for 18 goals and 30 assists.
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