DETROIT – When Scott Wilson played in the minor leagues, he was a scoring machine. That’s not an exaggeration. He poured in 22 goals and 36 points in only 34 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton two years ago.
Wilson took a look back at that run during the Buffalo Sabres' bye week. His old team sent him video clips, and the left winger liked what he saw.
"That's definitely helped me a lot getting back to how I was there," Wilson said Thursday. "It's just doing the little things, shooting the puck a lot more. I got away from that for a while. That's something I did, and I'm just trying to build on that."
Wilson entered Thursday's game against Detroit as a regular on the score sheet. He had three goals and five points in the previous six games, solid numbers for a team in dire need of solid performers.
"Scott Wilson has done a terrific job since he's been part of our team, not only the way he handles himself and the way he approaches the game, but the way he plays it," coach Phil Housley said in Little Caesars Arena. "He does the right things. He finishes checks. He's tough to play against, and he's a really good addition to our team."
He's the type of addition who could stick around. Acquired from the Red Wings in December for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Wilson is showing he can handle scoring- and checking-line roles. The 25-year-old will be a restricted free agent this summer with a qualifying offer due of $726,000.
It's easy to envision him becoming a complementary piece of the rebuild. He envisions it, too.
"Absolutely," said Wilson, who spent parts of four seasons in the Penguins' organization after being drafted by a front office that included Jason Botterill. "Being in Pitt, you kind of see what it takes. With Bottsy being there and everything, you obviously know what needs to be done.
"Being part of the rebuild is exciting being a little bit of a younger guy."
It's exciting just a find a home. It has been a whirlwind year for Wilson, who finally feels settled with Buffalo. After three games without a point in Pittsburgh, the Penguins traded him to the Red Wings. He failed to produce a point in 17 games before getting dealt to the Sabres.
"Hockey's a business, and at the end of the day sometimes it doesn't go your way," he said.
After arriving in Buffalo, Wilson had just one goal and one assist in 14 games. He was scratched in five others.
In the past 13 games, he has four goals and eight points.
"I've been feeling pretty good as of late, kind of finding myself a little bit," Wilson said. "Anytime you start to get some bounces, it feels good. You get a little confidence of hanging onto the puck for an extra second to make a play instead of just getting rid of it.
"It's been a long year for me, but I think I'm kind of finally settling in."
Story topics: Scott Wilson