DENVER — Scott Wilson knows why he's with the Sabres. General Manager Jason Botterill nurtured Wilson's career from his days with Wilkes-Barre of the American Hockey League through being part of both Stanley Cup winners the last two years in Pittsburgh. Botterill wants Wilson to bring some of that experience to his reeling new employer.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to get a shot here," Wilson said after Tuesday's pregame skate in the Pepsi Center. "Knowing 'Bottsy' and a couple of the scouts, it's a little bit easier of a transition for me. They're trying to turn it around here and I'm excited to be a part of it. That gives you a little bit of confidence knowing somebody wants you and really tried to push for you to be here."
"I know Jason spoke very highly of him," said coach Phil Housley. "Just seeing him play against us in Nashville last year, he brings speed, he brings physicality. He know what it takes to win so it's a good addition to our team."
Wilson will skate on a line with Evan Rodrigues and Kyle Okposo in Tuesday night's game against the Colorado Avalanche. Wilson has no points this year in 20 games between Pittsburgh and Detroit, where the Sabres acquired him from Monday for a fifth-round pick. But he had eight goals and 26 points for the Penguins last season, and played in 20 of their playoff games that culminated in their Cup final win over Nashville.
"I've obviously learned from those great players who've been in hundreds of games in the playoffs," he said. "I've been fortunate to be on a couple of teams, even in the American League, that went far in the playoffs and you learn a bit there.
"The last two years were something special going so late and learning a lot. Being a young guy, I tried to be a sponge in those situations and learn what it truly takes to win. They know what it takes. We should be spreading the learning curve with that to try to turn it around here."