A timely discussion here, so I've promoted it to the main stage. - Dirk
Patience is something needed in hockey, especially when you're dealing with young forwards. Nashville has had its share of young forwards in the organization, some were even fairly high picks. Guys like Legwand and Hartnell come to mind, even if Legwand never fully panned out the way we thought he would. But there is one Predator forward who is starting to turn some heads, and possibly even break necks.
Enter young Colin Wilson, a kid who the Predators took in the first round back in 2008 with hopes he would be their future. Alas, they were met with some growing pains early, often times Wilson would try to dance too much or miss just wide with the shot. In 82 game seasons he was putting up 34-35 points per year, and I'm sure Preds fans were thinking back to David Legwand and the little Center who never fully developed. That was until this year...
A lot of us called a Wilson breakout year, myself included, but even I didn't expect him to be the driving force behind Nashville's scoring this season. I thought he'd fit in nicely with Erat and Legwand, quite possibly be a 25 point player in a lockout shortened season. But he has came onto the scene in a big way, with only 17 games off the schedule Wilson already has 14 points...which doesn't seem like that big of a deal until you do a little math. He's projected to hit 39 points if he keeps going at the rate he's going now, that's more than what he's use to averaging in a normal 82 game season. Is it safe to say he's finally arrived?
I don't like jumping the gun too quickly on things like this, but Wilson has made a believer out of me. He's able to pass the puck, he's able to shoot the puck, and he's always driving to the net. Not to mention he's got a pretty decent ability to lay some hits on the forecheck, if and when he wants. So far this year his move to Left Wing has seemed to be a positive one, as he's propelled the Preds offense this season. The next closest Predator to Wilson in points is Martin Erat with 10. But Erat, with all his skill has never been that guy for us. He's been a solid and consistent scorer, but never the guy on our forward line that struck fear into the hearts of the opposing teams. Wilson appears to be growing into that role.
It's always been said it takes Power Forwards the longest time to develop in the NHL, I don't know if that's true or not but Wilson sure has taken his sweet time getting ready. Between his extra year at Boston and a half season in Milwaukee (both of which he dominated at) he's finally starting to show he belongs on the front line of the Predators. And keep in mind this was the same forward who was scratched last season for some games based off the fact he wasn't playing up to snuff. His transformation has been a radical one... and the numbers prove it. If you don't believe me just check them out for yourself.
Colin Wilson has more points than Claude Giroux, Phil Kessel, Zach Parise...just to name a few. Granted his name still isn't up there with Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Pavel Datsyuk, or several others top flight forwards but his name is slowly racing up the boards as he contributes night in and night out for this hungry Predators team. He always seems to be right there when we need him, especially as of late. And I think without his emergence this Predators team would be nowhere close to the playoffs, the rest of the forwards have been rather iffy at best, and while Erat's points are solid it's important to note his points didn't take off until Wilson's did as well. I can't honestly sit here and say Wilson is one of the top 15 forwards in the NHL today, but I can sit here and say he is one of the best forwards the Predators have seen in a long time.
I'll keep this simple and short, as I want to know what other Preds' fans think. Do you think Wilson is finally here? Or do you think he's going to simmer back down again?