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Why Colin Wilson is a bust no longer

Adrian Dater Avatar
October 12, 2018

BUFFALO, N.Y. – He played 56 games for the Avalanche last season and scored six goals. He’s played four games for the Avalanche this season and scored three goals. There is no comeback player of the year award in the NHL, but if there were Colin Wilson would be right there in the early running.

“Wilson!” has become one of the obvious memes for Avalanche fans so far, this time in a good way. To continue with this metaphor, Wilson seems to finally feel at home instead of looking like a castaway like he did all of last year.

The 10-year NHL veteran just had one of those years, scoring just the six goals and 12 assists. With a salary of nearly $4 million, the Avs paid about $650,000 per goal. OK, that’s enough mocking of last year.

Wilson doesn’t take it personally. He’s a pro and he knows he didn’t produce. But he did have a valid excuse, at least for what was a very slow start.

“I only skated once last summer,” Wilson told BSN Denver, after the Avs’ 6-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. “I got hurt skating and it hindered me all summer and into training camp.”

The specifics of the injury remain off the record, but suffice to say it was a lower-body injury. No such ailment exists now, and it is a straight up fact that Wilson looks faster than at any point last year. Wilson scored two goals in the Avs’ victory over Philadelphia last week, and his third goal in this one was a wrist shot in the slot past Sabres goalie Carter Hutton, which gave Colorado a 2-0 lead. That proved the game-winner.

It’s not just that he’s scoring goals that has made Wilson a leading light so far in this very young season. He’s been pretty good defensively and been the power forward that creates a bit more space in front of the net that smaller linemates Alexander Kerfoot and Tyson Jost need at times.

“Wilson, I thought he had another great game,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “He finds way to get on the score sheet. He’s capitalizing on his chances. Last year, he had a lot of glorious chances and it just escaped him. He couldn’t put it in the back of the net. And he’s doing the right things on the defensive side of it.”

Wilson spent eight years in Nashville, and that last year was with a team that made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. The native of Greenwich, Conn., paused a second when I asked him if maybe, in hindsight, it was tougher for him to leave Nashville in the past than he might have anticipated.

“There were just a few things going on, but I came in hurt,” Wilson told BSN Denver. “I missed all of training camp except for the last five days. It was just a tough way to start.”

Wilson was given the second-line right wing job, proving to Bednar that he was more like his old self.

Wilson said he “kind of camp into (this) camp looking to earn that spot, that there was a spot open there. I’ve been in that role before, so it was nice to start the year in that top-six role.”

Wilson had an awesome 84.62 Corsi at 5-on-5 against the Sabres, with 11 Corsi events for and just two against. Linemates Kerfoot and Jost were at a minimum of 75.

“I’m just trying to play the power forward role, which is win some puck battles, but those guys have done a very good job down low,” Wilson said. “All of us are aware of where we are on the ice. It’s been going well.”

That almost never could be said at any point last year.

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