Nashville Predators forwards Paul Gaustad and Colin Wilson both suffered season-ending shoulder injuries that required surgery – shoulder stabilization surgery to be exact – that will likely require a four-to-six month rehabilitation process leading up until the start of next season’s training camp. Both Gaustad and Wilson had successful surgeries a short time ago and have already started the rehab process.
In Gaustad’s case, his shoulder injury was something that had been nagging him all season long, and he finally had to miss the remainder of the season after playing his last game on April 4 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Once he recovers from the surgery, Gaustad is expected to be ready to go next season and completely healthy.
“The expectation is to be 100 percent by training camp, and that’s something that this year I haven’t been and it’s disappointing, but I’m excited to be 100 percent,” Gaustad said.
The rehab process for shoulder injuries is usually a long and painful ordeal. Recovering from a shoulder injury takes time, but the player usually feels just like new once the rehab process is over. Gaustad even mentioned that the surgery should take care of his nagging shoulder injury once and for all.
“Right now, it’s just kind of getting the range of motion back. It’s a slow process, but I’m sticking to it and it’ll be fine,” Gaustad said.
Wilson was injured on Mar. 9 against the Minnesota Wild and really struggled to get himself off the ice. At the time of his injury, Wilson was the leading scorer for the Predators. In fact, Wilson still finished fourth on the team in scoring with 19 points despite missing 23 games. He’s also expected to make a full recovery by training camp.
“It feels amazing. I already know I’m ahead of schedule. It’s doing very well,” he said of the shoulder.
Before his injury, Wilson was starting to take his game to a level of consistency that he hadn’t previously shown in his NHL career. He was dominant at times offensively and really seemed like he was on the doorstep of becoming the special power forward that the Predators drafted him to be. His play was one of the lone bright spots for the Predators this season.
“I was happier with it. We talked about it with the coaches. I just became a little bit more of a consistent offensive threat as opposed to like I kind of went through some lulls in all my seasons before where I wouldn’t be as offensive. I was excited about that, and I just want to get better and do better next season,” Wilson said.
Once Wilson is healed and completely recovers from his shoulder surgery, he will be looking to take another step in his development next season. Wilson will be entering his fifth year with the Predators next season and will be turning 24 years old in October. He’s not one of the youngsters anymore, and he’s looking forward to embracing a new role and taking a new step next season.
“I think it’s just taking maybe I guess a little bit more of a leadership role. I’ve been on this team, this was my fourth year here, so I think I’m not a young player anymore. I’ve got to start improving and taking that mentality that I’m a part of the team and not just a young player that can have those lulls,” Wilson said.
Both Gaustad and Wilson are going to be very important pieces to the puzzle next season for the Predators. Gaustad is a guy that can play in a lot of different roles for the Predators, and Wilson seems to be an emerging legitimate offensive threat for the Predators. This summer of rehab will be extremely important for them, and the Predators should be in much better shape if those two can stay healthy.