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Ryan Wilson Rookie Rewind

by - Official Site of the Colorado Avalanche / Colorado Avalanche
The play of Ryan Wilson was one of many pleasant surprises for Avalanche fans during the 2009-10 campaign. Acquired at the 2009 trade deadline as part of the deal that sent Jordan Leopold to the Calgary Flames, Wilson began this past season in Lake Erie but quickly found a spot as a regular along Colorado’s blue line.

The following is a look back at Wilson’s rookie campaign.

Short Stay In Cleveland
Wilson began the 2009-10 season with the Lake Erie Monsters, but the defenseman didn’t stay in Cleveland for very long.  After totaling 17 penalty minutes in three games for the Monsters, Wilson was recalled by the Avalanche on Oct. 12.

The rookie would go onto spend the remainder of the season with the Avalanche, totaling 21 points (3g/18a) in 61 contests while also recording 86 hits and 76 blocked shots.

NHL Debut – Oct. 15, 2009
Defenseman John-Michael Liles suffered a shoulder injury in Colorado’s Oct. 13 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which opened up a spot in the lineup for Wilson. As a result, the blueliner made his NHL debut on Oct. 15 against the Montreal Canadiens.

In his  first NHL action, Wilson saw 11:34 of ice time and recorded one shot on goal and a +1 plus/minus rating during Colorado’s 3-2 road victory. The Windsor, Ontario native would end up leading all Avalanche blueliners with a +13 plus/minus rating on the season.

First Point – Oct. 23, 2009
The defenseman recorded his first NHL point during his fourth game with the Avalanche. Wilson picked up the lone assist on a Paul Stastny tally in the first period to help Colorado earn a 5-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

On the play, Wilson made an aggressive move to get to an errant Carolina pass at the Avalanche’s blue line. The defenseman sent the puck up the ice to Stastny, who carried it into the Hurricanes’ zone and cut into the slot before scoring on a backhand attempt.

First Goal – Nov. 17, 2009
In his 10th game with the Avalanche, Wilson recorded his first NHL goal and also added an assist as Colorado topped Northwest Division rival Calgary by a 3-2 score.

Wilson opened the scoring eight minutes into the contest after pinching in during a goalmouth scrum and depositing the rebound of a Wojtek Wolski shot past Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff. The rearguard also picked up an assist on Cody McLeod’s goal in the second period, which tied the game at 2-2. All told, the rookie had a +2 rating and three blocked shots in 15:33 of ice time en route to being named the game’s First Star by the Calgary media.

Getting Another – Nov. 25, 2009
Just eight days and four games after scoring his first NHL goal, the 6-foot-1, 207-pound defenseman got another when the Avalanche hosted the Nashville Predators at Pepsi Center. With the Avalanche trailing 2-0, Wilson helped cut that deficit in half after joining an offensive rush.

Wilson took a pass from Milan Hejduk while skating hard up the left wing and, finding himself on a partial breakaway, beat Pekka Rinne with a wrist shot at 3:39 of the second period.

Third Time’s The Charm – Feb. 6, 2010
The rookie netted his third and final goal of the season during a 3-0 home win over the Edmonton Oilers at Pepsi Center. With the game winding down and the Avalanche clinging to a 1-0 lead, Wilson helped cement the victory by beating Oilers goalie Jeff Deslauriers, who was having a standout game to that point and finished with 39 saves.

First, Adam Foote took a long shot from the right point that missed the net and ended up along the left half wall. Wilson was the first one to the loose puck, and his follow-up wrister snuck past Deslauriers with 2:54 remaining in the third period.

Helping Out – March 6, 2010
Wilson set a career-high with two assists (also tying his career-best in points) during the Avalanche’s 7-3 triumph over the St. Louis Blues. The defenseman picked up helpers on goals by Chris Stewart and Milan Hejduk that came 24 seconds apart early in the middle frame.

Later during the second period, Wilson also delivered one of the big hits that he quickly became known for during his first season in Denver. With Colorado holding a 5-2 advantage, Wilson lined up St. Louis’ Matt D’Agostini just inside the Avalanche’s blue line for a huge body check.

Postseason Debut
The rookie appeared in four games during the Avs’ Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the San Jose Sharks. Wilson made his postseason debut in Game One and then recorded his first playoff point in Game Two.

In the second game of the series, the defenseman earned a helper on a Chris Stewart tally during the third period in Colorado’s eventual 6-5 overtime loss.

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