By: Dan Shulman
On March 21, 2009, Colin Wilson led the Boston University Terriers to Hockey East Championship at TD Garden. Exactly seven months later, in the same building, Wilson scored his first career NHL goal against the Boston Bruins.
“It was exciting to score there,” said Wilson. “It was a terrible goal, so not too many people except for myself knew I scored it. I don’t know, it was exciting and it was a relief.”
A small amount of hockey players have the privilege of saying they played in the NHL. However, it is even rarer to be a third generation NHL player. Enter Colin Wilson.
The Greenwich, Connecticut native, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, has gone on to play in the NHL.
Wilson was selected seventh overall in the 2008 NHL Draft. A graduate of the U.S. Under-18 Team, Wilson’s hockey development started long before his days as a Terrier.
“That’s really where I started taking off a little bit,” said Wilson. “They’re all about development, getting you bigger, stronger, and faster. The coaches are all about getting you to the next level. From [age] 15 on, I was just in a developmental stage.”
Nashville goaltender Carter Hutton, graduate of UMass-Lowell, opposed Colin Wilson in their college days. Hutton saw Wilson developing when he played against BU.
“He was great in college,” said Hutton on his current teammate Colin Wilson. “He was like Wayne Gretzky on that team. He was great player. I think he kind of brings the same traits that he did in college. He’s a big body, protects the puck well. He makes everyone around him a lot better.”
Wilson and Hutton opposed each other four times in college, with Wilson tallying a goal and three assists against his Predators’ teammate.
“When I was at Lowell, we kind of made note of him,” said Hutton. “He was pretty dangerous on the half wall on the power play. Same thing here, he’s a great skill player. I think what I really notice playing with him is how big and physical he can be.”
Wilson’s decision to go to Boston University was based primarily on the winning environment Coach Jack Parker had produced.
“One of the reasons I went there was because they knew how to turn players into professional athletes,” said Wilson. “It was all about development and getting players better.”
Wilson’s success in college has continued in the NHL, as he is a denizen on the Predators second line. One of his line mates is Craig Smith.
Smith was drafted in 2009 by the Nashville Predators. Together, the two have developed as teammates and reputable forwards in the NHL.
“He’s a big bulldozer down in the corners,” said Smith when describing Colin Wilson. “He’s really good at protecting the puck. When there’s a play to be made, he’s able to get in there and make it. He’s a great player.”
With five goals and four assists, Smith and Wilson both have recorded nine points on the year, a far cry from what the two have done in the past. However, both have remained positive despite the limited numbers.
“I think we have our best hockey left to play so we’re still working and we’ll get there,” said Smith.
“You’ve got to play a strong, confident game and they’ll start going in. But certainly snake bitten,” said Wilson.
For Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette, Wilson’s low scoring output isn’t a cause for concern.
“We got a lot of faith in Colin [Wilson],” said Laviolette. “He had a heck of a year for us last year. He’s had lots of opportunities and lots of chances. He’s a guy that we count on. I think if you believe in the player and what they’re doing on the ice, eventually the results will follow. He’s just got to stay with the process.”
Colin Wilson and the Nashville Predators defeated the Bruins, 3-2, on Monday in Boston. Now 14-8-5, the Predators are in the hunt for the top spot in the Western Conference, and as Wilson inches closer to opening the floodgates, Nashville will continue to rise in the standings.