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What Did the Avalanche Get in Colin Wilson?

The Avs took advantage of their cap space and got a very useful player for next to nothing

Nashville Predators v Anaheim Ducks - Game One Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

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.

Colin Wilson’s Hero Chart from

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

Season Team League GP G A TP PIM
Season Team League GP G A TP PIM
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
USA U17 WHC-17 6 6 2 8 2
USA U18 WJC-18 6 0 1 1 8
2006-2007 U.S. National U18 Team USDP 41 19 31 50 32
U.S. National U18 Team NAHL 15 11 13 24 21
USA U18 WJC-18 7 5 7 12 4
2007-2008 Boston Univ. NCAA 37 12 23 35 22
USA U20 WJC-20 6 6 1 7 4
2008-2009 Boston Univ. NCAA 43 17 38 55 52
USA U20 WJC-20 6 3 6 9 4
USA WC 9 0 2 2 2
2009-2010 Nashville Predators NHL 35 8 7 15 7
Milwaukee Admirals AHL 40 13 21 34 19
2010-2011 Nashville Predators NHL 82 16 18 34 17
2011-2012 Nashville Predators NHL 68 15 20 35 21
2012-2013 Nashville Predators NHL 25 7 12 19 4
2013-2014 Nashville Predators NHL 81 11 22 33 21
2014-2015 Nashville Predators NHL 77 20 22 42 22
2015-2016 Nashville Predators NHL 64 6 18 24 14
2016-2017 Nashville Predators NHL 70 12 23 35 18