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Behind The Bench: Colin Wilson

by on 08/15/2011

This week we will be trying out a new format for our “Behind The Bench” feature, let us know what you think of the new format.

Vitals

Born:  Greenwich, CT, USA
Birth date: October 20, 1989
Height: 6’1” (185 cm)
Weight: 215 lbs (98 kg)
Position: Center/ Wing
Shoots: Left
NHL Draft: 7th overall by the Nashville Predators in 2008
NHL Team: Nashville Predators
Jersey No.:  #33
National Team: United States
NHL Contract: 11/12
Cap Hit: $1,725,000

History

2005-06: Wilson joined the U.S. National Development Team Program and recorded 21 points (10 goals and 11 assists) in 34 games in the North American Hockey League. Wilson was also selected to represent the U.S. in the 2006 IIHF World U18 Championships and helped the U.S. win their second straight gold medal.

2006-07: Wilson spent another season with the USNDTP and recorded 24 points (11 goals and 13 assists) in 15 NAHL games. Wilson also spent the season with the USDP U-18 team and recorded 47 points (22 goals and 25 assists) in 38 games. He was again selected to represent the U.S. in the 2007 IIHF World U18 Championships and recorded 12 points (5 goals and 7 assists) in 7 games, co-leading all tournament players in scoring. Wilson was instrumental in helping the U.S. win silver.

2007-08: After catching the attention of many scouts and collegiate recruiters while in the USNDTP, Wilson enrolled to play collegiate hockey with the Boston University Terriers of the Hockey East.  Wilson played in all situations for the Terriers and became an impact player for Boston. In his freshman season, Wilson recorded 35 points (12 goals and 23 assists) in 37 games and helped the Terriers become the top-scoring team in Hockey East as well as one of the top offensive teams in the country. Wilson was selected to represent the U.S. in the 2008 IIHF World U20 Championships, where he recorded 7 points (6 goals and 1 assists) in 6 games. Wilson was tied for the most goals among all tournament players. The U.S. finished the tournament in fourth place. Wilson was named New England’s college Rookie of the Year and Hockey East’s Rookie of the Year. He was then selected 7th overall by the Nashville Predators in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

2008-09: Wilson returned to Boston University for his sophomore season and recorded 55 points (17 goals and 38 points) in 43 games. He finished the season as Hockey East’s scoring leader. Wilson helped Boston become the first seed in the Northeast Region during the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament and eventually led the team to a National Championship with 5 points (2 goals and 3 assists) in 4 games. Wilson was named to Hockey East’s First All-Star Team and the New England D1 All-Stars. He was also honoured with the Walter Brown Award for the best American-born forward in New England. Wilson also represented the USA as an alternate captain during the 2009 IIHF World U20 Championships, recording 9 points (3 goals and 6 assists) in 6 games. He also joined team USA at the World Championships and recorded 2 assists in 9 games. Wilson was the only player on the USA roster at the World Championships to have never played an NHL game.

2009-10: Wilson signed a three-year entry-level contact with Nashville on April 17, 2009. He skated in 40 games with the Predators, AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals and recorded 34 points (13 goals, 21 assists). Wilson had several call ups with the Predators. By the end of the season he recorded 15 points (8 goals and 7 assists) in 35 NHL games. He also recorded 1 assist in 6 playoff games with the Predators. Wilson suffered two groin injuries at the beginning of the season that forced him to miss a handful of games.

2010-11: Wilson made the Predators line up out of training camp and played the entire season in Nashville. Wilson recorded 34 points (16 goals and 18 assists) in 82 games. Although he appeared in every game for the Predators during the regular season, he suffered from numerous long droughts during the season. Most noteworthy was a 9-game pointless drought in November, followed by an 8-game pointless drought in March. Wilson spent much of the post-season as a healthy scratch and only played in 3 of the Predators 9 playoff games.

Talent Analysis

Wilson has the size and power and elite-level skill of a power forward but not the physicality of one. His greatest attribute is his phenomenal hockey sense and his ability to utilize his hockey sense to make those around him better, no matter what zone they are in. Wilson has great vision, awareness and anticipation and is very good at readying developing plays and has the ability to create plays out of nothing. Wilson also posses superb hands and has great patience with the puck. He is a great puck distributer but isn’t afraid to shoot the puck when the opportunity presents itself. He possesses a very good, hard shot and knows how to get the puck through traffic. His puck moving ability is something to marvel at, his ability to find teammates is uncanny.

Wilson is comfortable on both sides of the ice, while playing for the Terriers, he was used in every possible situation including penalty killing. His intensity and tireless work ethic make him very dependable when called upon. Wilson is very strong on the puck and makes it difficult for defenders to knock him off and he has shown he is not afraid to do to the difficult areas on the ice.

Wilson is a very mature player, he knows exactly when he needs to step up his game and what he needs to do to help his team exceed. He plays well in clutch situations and can be relied on during big games to bring out his best, and his best always makes those around him better. Wilson also brings a degree of versatility to the team, he’s able to play both wing and center.

Future

Wilson has the skills, size and intelligence to become a dominate NHL player. His tireless work ethic and unyielding commitment will no doubt make him a candidate to captain an NHL team in the future. It may still be another year or two until he can really dominate at the NHL level and contribute at a fantasy level but it’s only a matter of time. There’s no doubt he will eventually become a 70+ point producer in the NHL.

Career Highlights

  • 2005-06 IIHF World U17 Hockey Challenge Silver Medal
  • 2005-06 IIHF World U18 Hockey Championships Gold Medal
  • 2006-07 IIHF World U18 Hockey Championships Silver Medal
  • 2006-07 IIHF World U18 Hockey Championships Most Points
  • 2007-08 NCAA Hockey East – Rookie of the Year
  • 2007-08 IIHF World U20 Hockey Championships Most Goals
  • 2007-08 IIHF World U20 Hockey Championships Top 3 Player on Team
  • 2007-08 NCAA New England Rookie of the Year
  • 2007-08 NCAA Hockey East All-Rookie Team (Forward)
  • 2008-09 NCAA Hockey East Scoring Leader
  • 2008-09 Finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award
  • 2008-09 NCAA Hockey East Champion
  • 2008-09 NCAA Championship Winner
  • 2008-09 NCAA Hockey East First All-American Team (Forward)
  • 2008-09 NCAA New England Best Forward
  • 2008-09 NCAA New England D1 All-Stars (Forward)
  • 2008-09 Walter Brown Award Winner
  • 2008-09 NCAA Hockey East First All-Star Team (Forward)
  • 2008-09 NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament Team (Forward)

Career Stats

NHL Regular Season: 117 GP, 24 G, 25 A, 49 Pts
NHL Playoffs: 9 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 Pt
AHL Regular Season: 40 GP, 13 G, 21 A, 35 Pts
NCAA (Hockey East): 80 GP, 29 G, 61 A, 90 Pts
WJC-20: 12 GP, 9 G, 7 A, 16 Pts
WJC-18: 13 GP, 5 G, 8 A, 13 Pts
WC: 9 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 Pts
USDP: 67 GP, 21 G, 22 A, 43 Pts
NAHL: 49 GP, 21 G, 24 A, 45 Pts

Behind The Bench appears Monday to Friday only on puckpuckgoose.com.

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