In conjunction with the Nashville Predators 15th Anniversary celebration and the 2013 NHL Entry Draft this coming weekend in Newark, N.J., each day we take a look back at the Top 15 draftees throughout the club’s history.
The Top 15 draftees will be in chronological order.
Colin Wilson, LW
No. 7, 2008
Boston University (Hockey East)
The Predators used their first pick in the 2008 Entry Draft to take forward Colin Wilson. Wilson was just weeks removed from his first season at Boston University, where he was named New England's college hockey Rookie of the Year, as well as Hockey East Rookie of the Year. Following the draft, Wilson returned to BU and led the Terriers to the 2009 NCAA National Championship. He was also a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey’s top player.
Following his sophomore season at BU, Wilson joined the Preds to begin the 2009-10 season, making his NHL debut with the Predators on Oct. 12, 2009.
On July 24, 2012, Wilson signed a three-year, $6 million contract with Nashville. He would immediately begin to earn that new contract when the 2012-13 season began, as he led the team in points (7g-12a-19pts, 25gp) prior to sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury on March 9, causing him to miss the final 23 games of the lockout-shortened season. While the injury limited Wilson’s output during the 2012-13 season, his breakout performance proved that he is dynamic offensive threat the Predators can rely on for years to come.
Roman Josi, D
No. 38, 2008
The Swiss defenseman was Nashville’s third pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, after being just one of just four 17-year-olds to play in Switzerland’s top division in 2007-08. During the 2007-08 season, Josi ranked fifth among Swiss League junior players (under-20) in points (8) and assists (6). He also represented his country at both the World Junior Championships and the Under-18 World Championships. He would return to Switzerland following the draft and eventually help SC Bern win both the Swiss League regular season and playoff titles in 2009-10.
Josi made the transition to North American prior to the 2010-11 season, and started to emerge as a top defensive talent during the 2011-12 season when he split time between Milwaukee and Nashville.
Josi saw a significant increase in playing time and workload during the 2012-13 season. He led the team in ice time on nine occasions, and saw his average ice time go up by more than five minutes from his rookie campaign (from 18:23 to 23:31). Josi finished sixth on the team in points (5g-13a-18pts), including the first four-point outing (2g-2a) of his career on Feb. 25 on national TV against Dallas. His performance was the fifth time in franchise history a defenseman has posted four or more points in a game, and his second-career multi-point effort.
After the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, the Bern, Switzerland native joined his home country for the 2013 World Championships in Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland. Josi led all tournament defensemen in goals (4) and points (9) while helping Switzerland to a silver medal, the nation’s first medal in 60 years. Josi was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Best Defenseman and a tournament All-Star, becoming the first Swiss player to earn those honors.
On June 10, 2013, Josi signed a seven-year, $28 million contract with the Predators.
Gabriel Bourque, LW
No. 132, 2009
Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
For the first time in four years, the Predators looked to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for two picks in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, including forward Gabriel Bourque. Bourque had just completed his second season with Baie-Comeau, where he was captain and better than a point-per-game player (22g-39a-61pts, 60gp) for the Drakkar. Following the draft, Bourque returned to the QMJHL and eventually helped Moncton win the 2010 President’s Trophy as QMJHL Champions and advance to the 2010 Memorial Cup. Bourque, who was traded to Moncton midway through the 2009-10 season, was awarded the 2010 Guy Lafleur Trophy as playoffs MVP after posting 19 goals and ranking third in points (29) in 21 games during the postseason.
Bourque joined the Milwaukee Admirals in the 2010-11 season, and started the 2011-12 season there before being recalled to Nashville on Dec. 27 for the remainder of the season. Bourque opened the Western Conference Quarterfinals by tallying two goals, including the game winner, becoming the third player in the last 14 playoff years to attain the feat. He finished the 2012 postseason tied for the team lead in goals (3), and third in points (5). Bourque also tied for third among rookie forwards in goals, and sixth in points.
In 2012-13, Bourque posted 16 points (11g-5a) in 34 games, including seven goals and 10 points in the month of March, but missed the final 12 games of the shortened season due to injury.
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