When Colin Wilson
was drafted seventh by the Nashville Predators
at the 2008 Entry Draft, it was a much more memorable experience than when his father, Carey, was picked No. 67 in 1980 by the Chicago Blackhawks
When the younger Wilson was called to the draft podium, he was given a personalized Predators sweater and greeted by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. When the older Wilson was drafted, he didn't get a jersey, nor was he even in attendance at the Draft.
"People always go, 'Oh, do you remember your draft?'" Carey said in The Calgary Herald. "Well, yeah -- I was playing soccer. My mom came out and said, 'Phone's for you,' and it was Bob Pulford
saying that Chicago had drafted me. I went, 'Thank you – bye,' and went back to my soccer game. That was the extent of it back then."
"Colin is a combination of a skilled and power forward. He is very strong, has excellent hands and is a very good passer and playmaker. He makes and takes a difficult pass extremely well. He is tough and strong on the puck and is a very smart player who is aware of where teammates are at all times. He anticipates the play at both ends of the ice very well. When he gets the puck he responds instantly and knows where to put the puck. He is very reliable defensively, has incredibly quick feet and he can turn quickly while maintaining puck control."
-- NHL Central Scouting's Gary Eggleston
had a 10-season career, which included stops with the Hartford Whalers, the New York Rangers
and two stints with the Calgary Flames
. Colin was too young to remember his father's playing days, but he credits him with teaching him about hockey and his mentality toward the game.
"He was a key part in my development," Wilson told The Boston Herald. "Him really knowing what it took to make the NHL has helped me a lot. He's taught me things most kids in their early teens aren't learning. He was hard on me, but he didn't take it to extremes. It was right at the perfect level to help me develop. I mean, after games he could be pretty critical of me, but it allowed me to develop into my personality, to be hard on myself so I wouldn't be satisfied just having an average game."
It's rare for Wilson to have an average game nowadays due to his excellent combination of skill, size, hockey sense and vision, and the Predators, who had just three forwards taller than 6-foot-2 last season could use Wilson's 6-1 and 215 pounds up front.
Wilson could learn from Nashville captain Jason Arnott
, who is a veteran in the power-forward mold. Wilson's game, however, is a hybrid of skill and power.
"Colin is a combination of a skilled and power forward," said NHL Central Scouting's Gary Eggleston. "He is very strong, has excellent hands and is a very good passer and playmaker. He makes and takes a difficult pass extremely well. He is tough and strong on the puck and is a very smart player who is aware of where teammates are at all times. He anticipates the play at both ends of the ice very well. When he gets the puck he responds instantly and knows where to put the puck. He is very reliable defensively, has incredibly quick feet and he can turn quickly while maintaining puck control."
Wilson demonstrated his strength at the NHL Scouting Combine in June when he bench pressed 150 pounds 21 times, which was five more times than any other player at the event.
Wilson was the second American-born player selected in the 2008 draft and was the first player selected out of an American hockey program. Wilson had 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 points in 37 games for Boston University, which is one of the best college programs in the country. Wilson plays for legendary coach Jack Parker, who has coached the Terriers for a staggering 35 seasons. He has high praise for Wilson.
"Colin is a really smart player who sees the ice really well," Parker said. "He can really move the puck because he has what I refer to as 'Larry Bird court-sense'. He knows where everybody is and can see plays develop in front of him. He knows where to go when he has the puck and when he doesn't have the puck. An asset that never seems to surprise me is that he always collects the pass near him, so that the puck stays with him."
Prior to playing for Boston University, Wilson was part of USA Hockey's National Team Developmental Program.
Wilson joined the program at 15, and in 2005-06 he played alongside James vanRiemsdyk, (drafted No. 2 in 2007 by the Philadelphia Flyers
), Patrick Kane
(drafted No. 1 in 2007 by the Chicago Blackhawks
) and New York Islanders
prospect Rhett Rakhshani
. Playing as a 15-year-old against college players, he had 21 points in 34 games. Wilson improved the next season and had 22 goals and 25 assists for 47 points for the NTDP.
Constant improvement seems to be a theme in Wilson's game, and if the versatile forward can continue his ways, the fans in Music City will be singing his praises.