As the regular season approaches and the Colorado Avalanche roster gets set, there is a lot of excitement about many areas of the team. Nail Yakupov is the new face to be optimistic about, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen are the returning guys that that have looked great in the preseason - and of course, there’s Matt Duchene.
One guy that seems to be lost in all the preseason hype is Colin Wilson - the veteran forward that was brought to Denver to provide a calming presence to a lineup that can be somewhat erratic. With the team starting the season with three rookie forwards, young veterans like Wilson will be relied upon to lead by example.
Acquired for a late round pick, Wilson is one of those players that is overpaid and as a result, people overlook the fact that they’re actually a good player. The Avs were able to use their large amount of cap space to bring in a guy that might not be worth his $4m price tag, but can be very valuable to this lineup.
Two years ago, Wilson had his best season in the NHL. He was able to score twenty goals and 42 points for the Predators while playing a middle six role.
He hasn’t lived up to what you’d expect from a 7th overall pick, but that doesn’t take away the fact that Colin Wilson has been a very good complimentary player through his eight years in the NHL.
In the past, Wilson has been a key part of Nashville's powerplay, getting almost 2 minutes of PP ice time per game last season.
One thing Wilson has had trouble with over his career is staying healthy. He’s missed at last a dozen games over each of the past two seasons and durability is something you might not be able to count on from the 27-year old.
What to expect this season
Colin Wilson will probably slot into a 3rd line winger role for most of the season - depending on where Bednar depends to play the rookies. What makes Wilson valuable to this Avalanche lineup is his versatility. He has the ability to play all three forward positions while having the skill set to play up and down the lineup when needed. He’s best suited for a middle-six role, but if he needs to fill in on MacKinnon’s wing for a few days, Wilson would be far from out of place.
He’s a very solid 5v5 player that has had the benefit in the past of being utilized in a bit of a sheltered role. Don’t expect him to be a shutdown guy or get much -if any -time on the penalty kill.
Expect the coaching staff to utilize Wilson’s versatility as well as use him as a presence in front of the net on the second powerplay unit.
I’m rather bullish on Wilson’s value to the Avs, I’m wouldn’t be at all surprised if he gets up near his career high for point production - if he can stay healthy.
Season Total: 72GP, 17G/21A/38P