Likely the most contentious issue amongst the pixellated text that comprises OTF these days is quite frankly "Whether or not Colin Wilson is actually good". It seems that many are rightly bemused by the young forward after a season in which it was possible that A) He was bitten by a small Peruvian insect that made him assume a sleep-like state from 7 - 10 PM every night B) He got a small part as an extra on the show "The Walking Dead" and took his role too seriously C) His pre game meals were Honey BBQ Ribs followed by a box of Kripsy Kremes and a large Soda (Sugar Crash!).
He performed rather poorly in 2013 - 2014 to the point where many of the members of this blog strongly question if he will indeed become a top six forward in the NHL and is worth signing to a 3M+ level contract after this season. 11 goals and 22 assists for a player who possesses one of the more enticing skillsets in hockey while going through dry spells of epic proportions is pretty disappointing and it will be interesting to see how he develops after we hired his Dr Jekyll coach and fired his Mr Hyde, from a stylistic standpoint.
To throw in some helpful analysis and insight I would like to point out that the common refrain echoing around these message boards of "The only thing we've seen from Colin Wilson is a good 25 game stretch" is false. As a 20, 21 and 22 year old he scored at a 0.43, 0.41 and 0.51 per game pace in 34, 82 and 68 games respectively. Specifically his second NHL season, in which he recorded 34 points in only 13:08 nightly minutes of ice time with linemates like Joel Ward, Marcel Goc and a 36 year old Steve Sullivan was a lovely year for the sophomore. Secondly, a 2011 - 12 season where he scored at the same rate as Derek Roy, Ales Hemsky and RJ Umberger at 22. As a very raw youngster in the NHL, he showed that he can produce at the same pace as many 4M$ veterans and clearly has shown excellent potential to be a top six forward at NHL level, especially in an electric 25 game showing that had many around the league buzzing about his ability and Nashville fans expecting big things from the former 7th overall pick in the 2008 entry draft.
The only year he hasn't shown potential was a year after which he returned from his second major shoulder surgery, was relied on to be an offensive leader on a highly mediocre team at 24 and playing for a coach who in all likelihood exhausted his will to succeed through archaic Dump and Chase hockey and myopic line combinations. This is absolutely a partial indictment of Wilson as the onus is on anyone being paid a six figure salary to rise above the struggles presented to him. Adversely I feel it is equally important for sports fans to acknowledge the humanity behind the random dudes who play for our beloved hockey teams and to appreciate the he is a young man who was experiencing adversity, growth and evolution in a difficult environment.
I would conclude by offering a wager to any OTF reader that I think Colin Wilson will have his best year as a pro this season. He is an RFA after 2014 - 2015 and I fully expect him to be offered a multi year deal at a 4 - 5 $ Million salary. It is my opinion that the acquisition of Peter Laviolette, a commitment to playing a style far more conducive to his glorious skillset and hopefully the necessary complementary talents acquired by Poile in the offseason will help transform what will become a 25 year old Colin Wilson (on October 20) into a skilled Top Six NHL Forward capable of 60 points on any given year.