Colin Wilson still has not fully recovered from a groin injury sustained in training camp. Even so, the Nashville Predators’ rookie has hit his stride.
After what he said were predictably slow starts in both the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, Wilson has emerged in recent weeks as a consistent offensive threat, so much so that in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory at Atlanta he was put on a line with two of the Predators’ most dangerous forwards, Jason Arnott and Martin Erat.
“It was exactly the same when I went down to the minors, I didn’t put up any points in the first little bit and as soon as I got adjusted to the situation I started doing a little better,” he said. “It’s been the same as always for me.
“It happens every time (and) every time I get a little more frustrated. I remember in college being frustrated, and this year I was really frustrated as well.”
Wilson has five points in his last eight NHL games, which span the recent Olympic break. He had the game-winning goal Tuesday at Atlanta and an assist last Sunday against Vancouver.
During the Olympics, he was sent back to Milwaukee, where he rolled up five points (one goal, four assists) in five games. In his 40 AHL games this season, he has 13 goals and 21 assists, but 29 of those 34 points (10 goals, 19 assists) have come in his last 22 outings for the Admirals.
He’ll look to make it three straight NHL games with a point — something he has not yet done — when Nashville plays at San Jose, 9:30 p.m. (CST) Thursday.
“I think no matter where I play, I just try to play my game and at the same time try to get a little bit better every time,” Wilson said. “I’m a young player and still adapting to the pro level. So whether I’m up or down I’m still trying to play the same way.”
He didn’t get to play much in training camp because of the groin injury, and his professional debut was delayed until Nashville’s fourth game of the season. He played 10 games before he was sidelined again, and then in late November he was reassigned to Milwaukee where he stayed until Feb. 9.
Along the way, he and the team’s medical staff explored the possibility of corrective surgery, which he said would force him to miss 2-3 weeks. Instead, the decision was made to delay any such action until the offseason.
“Right now, I’m just playing through it,” he said. “…I don’t stretch it. Stretching doesn’t necessarily help it. So I just go out and play.”
Lately, he has stepped up his play.