Stock Rising For BU's Wilson
by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer
BOSTON Boston University forward Colin Wilson is being projected as a top-15 pick in June's NHL Draft. Over the last month, the freshman forward has turned on the jets, which has done nothing but solidify his spot as a surefire first-rounder, and now, a potential top-10 pick.
Early in December, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound forward made the journey, along with teammate Brian Strait, to the Czech Republic for the 2008 World Junior Championships. He was a force on Team USA's first line, netting six goals in six games, which tied him as the tournament's leader with Kazakhstan's Yevgeni Rymarev. But, Wilson potted his goals on just 15 shots (40.0 percent shooting percentage) as opposed to Rymarev's 30 shots.
Wilson was second on Team USA in scoring, finishing only behind New Hampshire's James vanRiemsdyk (11 points).
"It was a great experience out there for me," Wilson said after Friday's 6-4 win over Merrimack. "You get to play with, and against, some of the best talent in the World at your level. It really helped me elevate my play. It was great going over there with Brian (Strait), too. It was a great experience for both of us."
Upon returning to BU from his short sabbatical, Wilson found himself centering the Terriers' top line, alongside wingers Pete MacArthur and Bryan Ewing after Chris Higgins was moved to the third line.
The move has seemed to spark Wilson, who has five points in three games on the top unit. Admittedly, he had been thinking about the draft at the start of the year, but is now focusing one day at a time.
"At the start of the year, I think I let it get to me a bit," he said. "I was telling myself that I had to play better, or I will lose position in the draft, or not get drafted at all. But, then I thought about it, and it's really nothing I can control. I took a step back and have just been focusing on the things that I can control, which is playing to the best of my ability, and helping Boston University win hockey games. Everything else will fall into place if I do my job done every night and we are winning games."
Friday night at Merrimack, Wilson put in his best performance of the year. He tallied four points (1 goal, 3 assists) and earned the game's first star to lead the Terriers to a 6-4 win over the Warriors, and capture much needed Hockey East points.
On Saturday night, he assisted on the Terriers' second goal of the game by Bryan Ewing helping BU to a 2-2 tie with cross-town rival Boston College.
He was rewarded on Monday with Hockey East's rookie of the week.
"I thought he'd been playing great at times, but to be honest, I didn't think he was playing well consistently up until (Friday's win over Merrimack)," said BU head coach Jack Parker. "He moves the puck pretty well, and he is a good power-play player. He played very well against Merrimack (on Friday), but I think he just needs to get a little grittier and a little more determined in his own end.
"He's a very talented player, obviously he's scoring points, and those guys (MacArthur and Ewing) both like playing with him."
When Wilson arrives on an NHL sheet, whenever that may be, he'll be following in the footsteps of his father, Carey Wilson, who played 13 seasons in the NHL with the Calgary Flames, Hartford Whalers and New York Rangers. He also was a star forward at Dartmouth before embarking on his pro career.
"Colin has a tremendous skill set," said one NHL scout at Friday night's game against Merrimack at Lawler Arena. "The thing about Colin is that he can play a number of roles. He can setup a linemate because he sees the ice really well and can find passing lanes, even if they sometimes don't exist. But recently, he's also been finding the net more himself.
"Look, if you go through his history, dating back to AAA midgets, he's been able to score at every level he has played at, including the World Juniors and in one of the top conferences of college hockey in the country this season. That's why he is being projected that high in the draft. He's a solid two-way player, he fulfills his defensive responsibilities, and he can get the job done."
Wilson's Road to Draft Day
Here is a look at how Colin Wilson has faired in his draft year.
Team Leag GP G A Pts PIM +/- Shot%
USA IIHF 6 6 1 7 4 +2 40.0
BU HEA 20 6 13 19 6 +7 11.1%
TOT 26 12 14 26 10 +9 17.3%