NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Colin Wilson is going from winning an NCAA championship with Boston University to Switzerland with Team USA for the World Championships with a signed three-year, entry-level contract with the Nashville Predators.
The Predators announced Friday they had signed the six-foot-one, 213-pound centre. The team traded up last year to draft Wilson with the seventh pick overall.
"In this case, I'm very enthusiastic and convinced we have an up-and-coming, very top player," general manager David Poile said. "I don't want to put too much pressure on young Colin Wilson."
The 19-year-old Wilson thought about turning pro a year ago but returned to Boston for his sophomore season. He ranked second in the nation with both 55 points and 38 assists in helping the Terriers win the national title 4-3 in overtime last weekend. Wilson was one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker award.
Poile called the championship game exciting.
"I told him today that's just another chapter in his book. If he's got stories like that in the next few years, it's going to be an exciting ride for him and us," Poile said.
Making the decision to turn pro took Wilson only a couple days after the title game. He said he talked over the decision with his parents and leaves BU on good terms with his coaches and teammates.
"It was a pretty quick decision. (I) didn't have to think about it too much to go pro," Wilson said on a conference call.
Wilson was added to the U.S. team for the World Championships on Wednesday. That event starts April 24 and runs through May 10. Wilson played in the World Junior Championships the past two years and was Team USA's most outstanding player with nine points in six games this year.
Poile said he has warned Wilson he'll be playing against men in this tournament. How Wilson plays could help decide if he starts with the Predators next season or with the team's Milwaukee affiliate in the American Hockey League.
"Obviously, that's my main goal is to do as much as I can for my team at the World Championships and hopefully do really well there," Wilson said. "And after that, I'd love to be on the Predators as soon as possible. I'll talk to everybody in the organization. Obviously, it's more of a long-term goal."