In today’s NHL, salary cap space has become as big a trade chip as draft choices. Over the weekend, the Colorado Avalanche used their cap space as an asset when they were able to pick up Colin Wilson from the Western Conference Champion Nashville Predators for only a 4th round pick .in in 2019
Make no mistake about it, Wilson - who has two more years left on his contract at just under $4 million - is a versatile forward in his prime that is worth a lot more than a future 4th round pick. In a shrewd move - yes, the team is apparently capable of them -Joe Sakic and the Avs front office were able to add an impact player to the lineup for little more than money.
So what should Avs fans expect from Colin Wilson next season? You know, aside from a new number since he won’t be allowed to wear #33 in Colorado.
Wilson is a very versatile player that can play all three forward positions and will contribute as a net presence on the powerplay. Though he’s a left shot that has been a center for chunks of his career, Colin Wilson spent most of his time this past season playing on the right wing opposite James Neal, with either Calle Jarnkrok or Mike Fisher in the middle.
Averaging nearly two minutes of powerplay ice time per game, Wilson scored half of his 12 goals this season on the power play. Wilson is a guy that is willing to stand in front of the net on the powerplay, and he’s got the hands to be able to finish in close. That’s something that should definitely help out the abysmal league-worst 12.6 PP% the Avs had last year.
Wilson is a very fast north-south skater and is able to play with a speed that should fit in nicely to this Avs lineup. He plays a solid all-around game but due to consistency issues, Wilson will only be able to fill a fraction of the hole that will be created when Matt Duchene is traded.
Expect Wilson to play as a middle-6 winger this season, with the ability to fill a larger role should injuries necessitate it.
Beyond what he provides on the ice, I have a theory that there was an ulterior motive behind Joe Sakic trading for Colin Wilson. The trade was consummated just before 1pm EST on July 1st - shortly after TSN Insider Darren Dreger put the Avs as one of the final four teams in the running for Kevin Shattenkirk and about two hours before the defenseman made the decision to sign with the New York Rangers.
What is the significance of this?
Colin Wilson and Kevin Shattenkirk are both from Greenwich, CT - they grew up in the USNTDP together and they went as a package deal to play for the Boston University Terriers. The timing was a little too convenient. Part of the decision to trade for Colin Wilson was almost certainly to use him as a last-ditch recruiting tool to land Shattenkirk as a free agent.
(for the record, David Warsofsky, whom the Avs also signed early on July 1st, also played at BU with Wilson and Shattenkirk)
Though, the trade might have been completed with the added benefit of trying to recruit an elite player, make no mistake about it, acquiring Colin Wilson for next to nothing was a good move by the Avs. Wilson isn’t going to help the Avalanche miraculously not suck next season, but he will definitely improve the lineup and that’s something that is always welcome when you’re trying to dig yourself out of the biggest hole in recent memory.
Colin Wilson Career Statistics
|2005-2006||U.S. National U17 Team||USDP||15||9||7||16||2|
|U.S. National U18 Team||USDP||16||2||4||6||8|
|U.S. National U18 Team||NAHL||34||10||11||21||10|
|2006-2007||U.S. National U18 Team||USDP||41||19||31||50||32|
|U.S. National U18 Team||NAHL||15||11||13||24||21|