The Nashville Predators came just short of a victory against the Phoenix Coyotes last time around, as Game 1 showed that they’ll need plenty of scoring power to top Mike Smith. More than any time in recent memory, Nashville’s roster is littered with wild cards from the Kostitsyn brothers to Alexander Radulov. Barry Trotz now can play one more; Josh Cooper reports that Colin Wilson will suit up for the first time since April 7 tonight.
The Predators are noted for integrating prospects into their mix as methodically as any team in the NHL, so it’s not surprising that Wilson (the seventh overall pick of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft) has had to fight for every minute of playing time. With 15 goals and 35 points in 68 games in 2010-11, he has the potential to add some scoring punch to a diverse but not particularly distinguished Predators offense.
Perhaps most importantly, the 22-year-old should have fresh legs. That could be a significant difference-maker. Wilson is taking the place of fellow youngster Craig Smith.