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Predators sign forward Wilson to four-year contract

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Forward Colin Wilson signed a four-year, $15.75 million contract with the Nashville Predators on Monday, avoiding arbitration.

Wilson's hearing was scheduled for Tuesday in Toronto. The Predators also avoided arbitration with Craig Smith when the forward signed a five-year, $21.25 million contract on July 20.

"Certainly we were hopeful based on the [Smith] signing that [it] gave us a pretty clear position we felt where Colin could fit," Predators general manager David Poile told The Tennessean. "We did make the trip up here to Toronto. We met [Sunday] night with our lawyers to go over the brief and what have you, so we were ready to go to arbitration, but a couple of calls [Sunday] night and one [Monday] morning sort of solidified that we were both in the same place."

Wilson set NHL career highs with 20 goals, 42 points, a plus-19 rating and 172 shots last season. He had five goals, four on the power play, in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which the Predators lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks.

"That was my mindset going into the season; it's not the development stage anymore, I need to start reaching my potential," Wilson told the Predators website Tuesday. "It was nice to get my first 20-goal season last year, and I certainly want to build upon that with more consistency."

Nashville's first-round pick (No. 7) in the 2008 NHL Draft, Wilson has 77 goals and 178 points in 368 NHL games.

"There’s going to be pressure on you every year," Wilson said. "Last year it was, 'Am I going to live up to my potential?' Other years it was, 'Is he going to make the team?' So every year there's going to be new challenges and new pressure. I want to be a part of the core and I want to put that confidence and motivation into myself and be consistent. It's nice to see that Nashville felt the same way and they had that belief in me."

He will be paid $3.75 million in 2015-16, and $4 million in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 for an average annual value of $3.9375 million, according to the Predators.

"Everybody kind of reaches their potential or blossoms at different times," Poile said. "Colin would be the first to admit that he's getting better every day, more mature with his game. I think [his] consistency is an area that he'd like to improve on a little bit. Once he can get the handle on that, maybe and hopefully last year was just the tip of the iceberg for what he can do offensively for us."

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