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Avalanche season grades: Colin Wilson

Adrian Dater Avatar
August 14, 2018

Three more players to grade for this past season. On to Colin Wilson…


We could be charitable here, and weasle-word a feel-good review of Colin Wilson’s first season with the Colorado Avalanche, but in trying to keep with our company-wide policy of truth-telling on this site, we have to assess his season for what it was: a minor disaster.

Mind you, this is on a graded curve when it comes to salary and expectations; If Colin Wilson played last season for something between $700k-$800k like Nail Yakupov or Gabriel Bourque did, this grade would be a lot more generous. But the fact is: Colin Wilson earned $3,937,500 with the Avs last season. And that’s exactly what he’ll make this coming season too. The Avs are stuck with him.

Wilson remains probably the one sticking-out-like-a-sore-thumb bad acquisition made by Avalanche GM Joe Sakic within the last two years.

Acquired from Nashville before last season in trade, Wilson enters this coming season on the final year of a four-year, $15.75 million contract originally signed with David Poile and the mighty Predators, after scoring a career-high 20 goals in 2014-15. In real-world comparables, the Avs got about as much value from the Wilson trade as a guy who goes into the off-the-highway 7-11 and pays $14.75 for a Slim Jim, a four-pack of Advil and a one-dollar scratch ticket.

Hurt to start training camp, hurt at other intervals of the 82-game season, Wilson put up ground-chuck numbers on a top-sirloin contract.

Keep in mind: Colin Wilson was the eighth-highest paid player on the Avalanche’s 23-man roster. That’s exactly where he slots in entering this coming training camp as well. He will make TWICE AS MUCH as Joe Sakic did for the 1995-96 Avalanche, a Stanley Cup-winning team in which he was the Conn Smythe winner.

Wilson will be 29 in October. He’s still a young guy, on the actuarial tables. But he played like a guy in his mid-to-late 30s with the Avs. He was always hurt, looked slow much of the time and did very little production-wise. He had six goals and 18 points in 56 games, a career low in per-game averages. He’s a guy who had one good year on the stat sheet and got a huge contract. Think: David Jones.

I’m not sure Wilson will actually last into the coming season. He could be sent down to the minors, probably after a waiver-wire placement. He brought neither size, speed or skill to the Avs’ lineup. In the NHL of four to five years ago, he added more value, as a grinder, third-line kind of guy. But what he showed with the Avs this past season really wasn’t even worthy of a top-12 role. Unless he can come up with a real playing-for-a-new-contract kind of season, I expect this to be Wilson’s final year in the league.

Here’s hoping, for his sake, he can throw these words in my face at some point during the season. He’s got another chance. That’s the good news for Colin Wilson.

That, and those $48,018.29 checks he’ll make for EVERY regular-season game.

Biggest Moment

On Feb. 11, Wilson scored a goal and added an assist in a 5-4 win in Buffalo. It was an atrociously-played game, but for what it was worth, Wilson made a winning difference.

What’s Next

One more year on that four-year, $15.75 million contract.

Final Grade


Very poor numbers, all across the board. Wilson has to try and reinvent himself somehow, but unless he does it right away in training camp, I see him buried as either a healthy scratch or down in the AHL with the Eagles.


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