Next Wilson takes his shot

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

If it's the "nature vs. nurture," argument, E.J. McGuire knows which way he's going.

"I don't believe in bloodlines or genetics other than looking at a kid's dad and saying, 'he could be tall,' " said the NHL's director of central scouting, whose department has put in thousands of hours sorting and ranking the players who will be picked over the next two days.

"I think it's the social setting that's more important."

Colin Wilson, the Boston University centre ranked 10th among North American skaters, has got both the nature and nurture going for him.

His dad, Carey, played 10 years in the NHL for Calgary (twice), Hartford (twice) and the New York Rangers.

His grandfather, Jerry, played three games for the Canadiens in 1956-57 before becoming the team doctor for the Winnipeg Jets. Carey wound up growing up around the Jets and Bobby Hull, their star after jumping to the WHA. He skated with Bobby's son, a laid-back kid with natural talent named Brett.

Growing up in a hockey "social setting," might have helped Carey.

It looks like it's helped the latest Wilson generation, too.

"We're a lot alike," said Colin of his dad. "I think I got his head for the game and his hands. I think his weaknesses have also made me a better player because he's always told me to be gritty. He didn't have that in his game."

Wilson is 6-foot-1 and 215 lbs. and was Hockey East's rookie of the year. He played for Team USA at the world junior championship. He was born in Greenwich, Conn., during one of his dad's stints with the Whalers, but calls Winnipeg home.

McGuire thinks the sons of hockey-playing dads wind up benefiting, not from potential genetic gifts, but from their fathers' experiences.

"If there's a kid on the son's team who's complaining because he's not on the power play, the dad can say, 'there's one on every team. Don't be concerned about it,' and the son can benefit from those kind of stories," said McGuire. "It's what the kids can pick up sitting around the kitchen table."


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