DOB: April 24, 1992 (Age, 26)
Draft: 2011 seventh round (209th-overall,) PIT
How acquired: Trade with Detroit, December 4, 2017
Last contract signed: March 13, 2016, 2yr./$1.25 million
Final year of contract: 2017-18, RFA
2017-18 Stats: 49 games played | 6 goals | 8 assists | 14 points | -17 | 13:58 ATOI
Buffalo Career Stats: 49 games | 6 goals | 8 assists | 14 points | -17 | 13:58 ATOI
What we wrote preseason: N/A
What we wrote mid-season: Wilson is the other Sabres player with a Stanley Cup ring (two, actually) and he was traded for with Buffalo in the midst of a terrible slump while playing terrible hockey. Botterill brought Wilson in to help show what championship hockey looks like. Sure, he's no Mark Messier but the former Pittsburgh Penguin, whom Botterill knew very well, came to Buffalo on December 4 and since then the team has been playing some of it's best hockey of the year. Although he's only contributed one assist in six games. with Wilson in the lineup the Sabres are 2-1-3.
Impressions on his play this year: Wilson came through the ranks in Pittsburgh while GM Jason Botterill was in the front office there. Botterill found an opportunity to bring in a former Penguin, like he did with signing Kevin Porter in Rochester, to bring in some of the Penguins culture.
At locker cleanout he was asked by the gathered media about changing the mindset in Buffalo and he said that they need to bring it every day, not just sporadically on game-day. He was asked if winning is learned. "I think it's a big confidence thing," said the player who's played with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury. "A lot of guys struggle with confidence issues in this locker room but we showed signs of good things. Some guys get negative and I think it rolls through the team. I think just being positive and coming together can break that.
"I think the winning aspect comes when you're winning as a team and not playing as individuals."
Questions moving forward: Do the Sabres want to re-sign him to continue his role of helping build a winning culture to Buffalo? Can they find that sweet spot in the lineup for him? How much of an effect can a bottom-six/fourth-line player have in changing the culture in Buffalo?
Contract info via CapFriendly, stats via sabres.com and hockey reference.com.
Locker room cleanout video from sabres.com: