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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 ET / 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 - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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