The Nashville Predators are expecting big things this year from former Hobey Baker winner Colin Wilson in his second year as a pro. He has been given every chance to succeed in the preseason, playing mostly on the wing with Matthew Lombardi and Marty Erat.
At the beginning of last season he was hobbled by a chronic groin problem and had only two points in 10 NHL games. He was sent to Milwaukee to rehab where, after a slow start, he performed at a point a game pace.
Wilson was recalled by the Predators in early February and played in the Predators last 25 games, scoring seven goals and picking up six assists. His minutes were reduced in the playoffs when he played all six games and picked up a lone assist.
Over the summer, Wilson continued to rehab from his groin injury and incorporated much more stretching into his workout routine. He indicates that his groin is much improved.
“It’s doing really good. It definitely feels a lot better than last season,” Wilson said. “I still feel tweaks here and there but that is a part of the game.”
After the Olympic break last season, there were times when Wilson appeared to be the best player on the ice and then he would fade into background and go unnoticed for a while.
“Yeah, that’s what learning to be a pro is all about,” Wilson said. “You have to be consistent.”
Wilson continued, “It’s a cliche to be never too high or never too low but sometimes I got too satisfied with myself after having a really good period or really good game and I would come out and not be quite as focused so I’m definitely striving to be more consistent this year.
“It’s a mental approach, just learning the game, learning about yourself, and learning that you have to be focused all the time.”
Like everyone else on the team, Wilson’s ultimate goal for the year is to win the Stanley Cup. As an individual, he hopes to “become a regular NHLer with the Preds and score as many goals as possible and contribute to the team.”
In the preseason, Wilson played in five of the Predators’ six games and picked up two assists and was plus-2 on a team that only scored 13 goals.
Once the season is underway, it seems plausible that if Wilson continues to play on one of the top lines, that a 20 goal, 50 point season is within the realm of possibilities. That would be considered a successful campaign for the one of the Preds’ top prospects for the future.