After being drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 NHL Draft, Scott Wilson
was preparing to head to Penguins development camp and then begin his first year at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
Unfortunately, a bout with mono derailed his first appearance in front of the coaching staff by a year. But the progress Wilson made from a year ago is staggering.
Over this past season Wilson completed one of the more memorable freshman campaigns to date, taking the Hockey East by storm. The center received Hockey East Player of the Week honors five times, was the Hockey East Rookie of the Year, was selected to the Hockey East All-Rookie team, and was awarded the 2012 New England Hockey Writers George C. Carens Rookie of the Year Award.
“Coming into the year you never really know what to expect,” Wilson said. “We had 11 or 12 freshmen and you just have to earn your spot. Coach was able to give me a lot of opportunities. I was able to succeed at them. ”
Wilson played extensively on the power play and the penalty kill. The extra ice time gave him more experience than most freshmen and he relished in the spotlight, scoring 16 goals and 22 assists, finishing with a 1.03 points per game clip – good for second among first-year players.
“Playing on the power play and the penalty kill is a big thing and I just grew through the year and gained a lot of confidence,” Wilson said. “It was really just stepping stones to get me to the top there.”
Wilson is the latest example of a Penguins’ late-round pick excelling in college. Wilson has bulked up, putting on 30 pounds of muscle from last season to when he weighed in at 184 pounds at development camp in mid-July.
“Last year when I had mono I lost a lot of weight, but I was already a pretty light guy,” Wilson said. “Since I’ve put on almost 30 pounds. I was still adjusting to the way you play when you are a bit heavier.”
And Wilson doesn’t plan on stopping there. He’s still has a lot of areas to his game that he’d like to hone and improve during his sophomore campaign at UMass-Lowell.
“The biggest thing for me last year was putting on weight,” Wilson said. “I still want to put on about five pounds. And even my coach agrees that little things like my defensive game and battling will come with my size as I get stronger. I have a good compete level and I love to throw my body around even when I was smaller. Hopefully, now I can do some good stuff with the added weight.”