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Wilson Looks To Make The Transition

Panthers prospect Garrett Wilson looks to make jump to pros after leading his Owen Sound team to OHL Championship.

Wednesday, 08.10.2011 / 1:30 PM / News
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Wilson Looks To Make The Transition
Garrett Wilson skates recently in a practice at Panthers Development Camp (Glenn Odebralski)
By Molly Coller for floridapanthers.com

Garrett Wilson didn’t always aspire to be a hockey player. 

“When I was younger I would cry every time I had to practice,” said Wilson.

Not the expected response for a hockey player of such high caliber, but despite Wilson’s initial reaction, his parents continued to encourage practices and eventually Wilson fell in love with the game. 

The now 6-foot-3 206 1b left wing from Elmvale, ON has clearly come a long way since then. His dedication to hockey, strong defensive playing and leadership skills have led to numerous accomplishments.

As captain of the Owen Sound Attack this past season, Wilson guided his team to capture the OHL Championship. In 22 post-season games, Wilson scored 11 goals and added 10 assists with 28 PIM. The team ended the seventh game of the finals against Mississauga with a thrilling 3-2 win in overtime and had the audience on the edge of their seats the entire game.

“It was great to be captain of a winning team, it’s a lot of responsibility, but I thought I handled it pretty well,” said Wilson who was later knocked out of the CHL’s Memorial Cup Championships with concussion-like symptoms from a hit against the same Mississauga team Owen Sound defeated in the OHL playoffs. “I gained a lot of experience and hopefully I can carry that over to the next level.” 

The Florida Panthers prospect who was selected in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, scored a career-high 40 goals and 46 assists for 86 points in 66 games this past season. However, as a 4th round pick, Wilson acknowledges the need for improvement.

“Getting picked in the fourth round is hard,” admitted Wilson. “There are a lot of higher round picks here and I need to focus on my game and do what I do best. They (Florida) saw something in me, so I know they like the way I play, I just need to keep working hard and try to make this team as quick as I can.”

But regardless of his draft ranking, Wilson is determined to take on the challenge to fully prepare himself for the transition from juniors to the pros. The 20-year old, who signed an entry-level contract on June 1, will enter his first year of professional hockey and will encounter new challenges, including doing his own cooking and laundry.

“In junior league you kind of get babied a bit; they do a lot of that stuff for you,” said Wilson during last month’s development camp at the Saveology.com Iceplex. “But here at the camp they taught us some of the basics so hopefully I can use that for next year.”

Working with the older players should give Wilson the confidence needed to be on his own.

“I think that’s what I look forward to most, working with the older players. Just seeing how they prepare for games and practices will help me learn a lot,” said Wilson. “It’s going to be tough but I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

With Panther General Manager Dale Tallon bringing in new faces at the deadline and creating frenzy in the media, Wilson believes the team is headed in a positive direction and just hopes to be a part of it all.

Whether he starts his professional career in San Antonio of the American Hockey League or with Florida will be decided at the upcoming training camp in September.
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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

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2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
 
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