2011 Cap Hit: $1,275,000
2012 Status: RFA
Wilson was 10th in scoring on the team last season, folks. Granted, it was a pretty offensively anemic crowd, but he was still putting up points—enough points, in fact, to sit second behind Erik Johnson for the blueliners. Moreover, he did that in only 59 games. (For comparison's sake, recall that Johnson logged only five additional points while playing in 13 more games.) He also ranked second behind Gabriel Landeskog in that all-important stat of +/-. Honestly, on a team where the best defenseman was rocking a -17 and only two other roster players were on the plus end of the scale, it might actually say a bit of something about the guy.
A nice chunk of those missing games were due to being a healthy scratch. This one truly was a head scratcher for me as Shane O`Brien certainly deserved the press box more than Wilson on more than a few nights. Yet like O'Brien, Wilson was inconsistent. Sometimes we'd see a smart hockey player who saw the ice well, sent crisp outlet passes to his forwards, and hit guys like a Mack Truck with perfect timing and precision. Other times, we'd see an AHLer out there who tried hard at everything but just couldn't make it click. You could tell which Wilson was playing after just a couple of shifts.
With guys like Cameron Gaunce and Duncan Siemens waiting to bust out on the Avalanche scene, it's easy to see why Wilson's job might be in jeopardy. Unless the Avs pick up a top-two defenseman, though (which I don't think they'll do), Mack Truck can still serve the team well as a 5th-7th d-man who can pull duty as a 4th guy in a pinch. At least right now. I think we saw some growing pains out of Wilson this past season. His game is developing but concussions still haunt him. If he can find a way to overcome the fears of a noggin crush (which, granted, can't be easy), then I think we could see something special happen with Wilson in 2012-2013. Whether that will be with the Avs or some other team remains to be seen.
2012 Outlook: SeeSixWhores has already determined that Wilson is a goner. I'm not so sure. In fact, I expect to see him return at a similar cap hit as last season. If the Avs don't keep him, I guarantee you some other team will swoop him up just in time for him to hit his stride professionally. Huge mistake to let him go, IMO.
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