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30 in 30: Wilson's health X-factor for Predators

Monday, 08.12.2013 / 8:54 AM CT / Features
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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30 in 30: Wilson\'s health X-factor for Predators
All systems were go for Nashville Predators forward Colin Wilson on his way to a breakout season before sustaining an injury in March.

The 6-foot-1, 216-pound left-handed shot was leading the Predators with 19 points, including seven goals, through the opening 24 games before a shoulder injury ended his run March 9, one day after striking for two goals and four points and being named the game's first star in a 6-0 victory against the Edmonton Oilers.

Wilson exited a game against the Minnesota Wild early in the second period after being checked hard into the end boards in the opposing zone by defenseman Justin Falk. Wilson had stabilization surgery on each shoulder within a span of a few weeks in April and began his core and lower-body offseason workout program in June.

"I'm rehabbing every single day and doing everything I can," Wilson told The Tennessean in June. "I'm ahead of schedule right now."

Wilson's surgery involves a four-to-six month recovery, and it appears he's hoping to be ready for training camp next month, five months after his surgery.

If the 23-year-old can pick up where he left off, the Predators not only would feel more confident about returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs but being considered legitimate Cup contenders.

"I think we just started to see the tip of the iceberg [in 2012-13] for what he's going to be like as a power forward that has the skill and production we knew when we drafted him," Predators assistant general manager Paul Fenton told The Tennessean. "There are so many different variables, it's hard to put a finger on it and say this is exactly why he started to take the next step. But I'd probably say his maturity started to take him to a different level."

There's a chance Wilson could move back to center, a position he played at Boston University for two seasons. There's no question that with Martin Erat now out of the picture, the opportunity is there to take hold of a featured role. Whether that's at left wing or center remains to be seen.

Wilson has the size, speed and offensive ability to relearn his role down the middle, but his consistency will always come into question. The native of Greenwich, Conn., has shown flashes of playing well in clutch situations and displays leadership qualities with a very mature attitude.

He entered 2012-13 having posted career-highs of 35 points, five power-play goals and five game-winning goals the previous season. Wilson was on pace for 30 goals in a projected 82 games last season, when he averaged 16:34 of ice time, including 2:22 on the power-play. He led the Predators with a shooting percentage of .269.

If healthy, Wilson will no doubt challenge for the team lead in scoring and offer fans reason for optimism.
SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 58 36 18 4 160 134 76
2 DAL 55 35 15 5 178 147 75
3 STL 57 31 17 9 138 133 71
4 LAK 54 33 18 3 151 128 69
5 COL 58 29 25 4 155 160 62
6 SJS 53 28 20 5 154 143 61
7 ANA 53 26 19 8 120 125 60
8 NSH 55 25 21 9 142 148 59
9 ARI 54 25 23 6 143 164 56
10 MIN 54 23 21 10 133 134 56
11 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
12 CGY 54 25 26 3 144 160 53
13 WPG 54 24 27 3 139 157 51
14 EDM 56 22 29 5 138 168 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 55 11 29 -2 40
F. Forsberg 55 18 18 -7 36
S. Weber 55 14 21 -5 35
M. Ribeiro 55 6 28 3 34
J. Neal 55 20 13 18 33
M. Ekholm 55 6 19 3 25
R. Ellis 54 6 16 2 22
C. Smith 55 11 7 -1 18
C. Jarnkrok 54 9 8 0 17
C. Wilson 38 4 12 -1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 18 8 .902 2.57
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36