The Nashville Predators have expected a lot from Colin Wilson since drafting him 7th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
In many ways, he has been a mystery to the Nashville Predators in his streakiness and up and down play. Charles Dickens classic book “A Tale of Two Cities” starts out with this phrase:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"
If you were going to write a book about Colin Wilson’s season, you could start it with that same phrase and entitle it, “A Tale of Two Seasons”
The season started with a brand new contract signed with the Nashville Predators. He was deemed worthy of a four-year, $15.25 million contract after the previous 20-goal season and postseason heroics.
He was to be one of the Predators young guns with Filip Forsberg and also newly signed Craig Smith. Seven games into the season he had a goal and five points, certainly passable numbers. He then went 21 games deep into December before he had his next goal.
Let’s take a look at his season numbers for the past two years:
2014-15 regular-season stats: 77 games, 20 goals, 22 assists, plus+19 rating, 22 penalty minutes, 172 shots on goal
2015-16 regular-season stats: 64 games, 6 goals, 18 assists, minus-1 rating, 14 penalty minutes, 108 shots on goal, 5.6 Shooting percentage
Quite a step down for a player that was counted on so heavily.
Then the playoffs started. Colin Wilson who had been a healthy scratch late in the season, who was playing on the fourth line became Playoffs Colin Wilson.
Much like the season before when he led the team in the playoffs with five goals in six games, he did it again. He had five goals and 13 points in 14 games, set a new Predators postseason record scoring in seven straight games and had some amazingly timely goals that helped the Predators go deeper than ever before.
A tale of two seasons indeed.
When Colin Wilson is on his game he is hard to stop. When drafted he was described as a player with excellent vision, quick hands, and fast feet. He has nice size and a good shot.
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When he gets his motor running in high gear during a game you see him everywhere. He chases down pucks, goes into the corners and can get around a defenseman on the rush. He is big enough to bang players along the boards.
He has an innate ability to know when he’s not going to get past a player in the offensive zone, stop on a dime and feed a pass to a trailing teammate. He can get in front of the net, provide a screen and bang home a rebound.
When the Predators traded up from ninth to seventh to get Wilson, they envisioned at least a consistent 20-goals a year player with a huge potential upside. It hasn’t come to pass, at least, that is, until the playoffs start.
Over the past two seasons of playoffs, Wilson is arguably their best offensive member in those two years. He is a completely different player, the kind that teams trade for at the deadline just to use in the playoffs. He has been invaluable in postseason play.
I’m sorry, but if you look up inconsistency in the dictionary, there is a full page photo of Colin Wilson. At least in the regular season. Even in his 2014-15 season when he had 20 goals, he only had one in the final 22 games of the regular season. That is more than a quarter of the season and he had one goal.
There was supposedly interest in Wilson at the Trade Deadline and most Nashville Predators fans were disappointed he didn’t go . They didn’t feel that way during the playoffs but can you keep a guy and pay him that kind of money to just answer the bell in the postseason?
If he had played that way all year, they probably would have had home ice advantage and their seventh games wouldn’t have been as visitors. It’s an interesting quandary and we have some ideas about how his value is as good as it will ever be right now and it might be time to look at the trade market again.
He is so hard to grade for this season. If you were going to look at it in a class, he would have had a low “D” for the year that he brought up with an A on the final exam. He is SO frustrating because the talent is most definitely there but doesn’t shine through nearly enough.
PredLines is doing it’s end-of-the-year grades on all of the Nashville Predators players. Keep and eye out for your favorites.