Catching Up: Notes From Tom Wilson’s Conference Call After Re-Signing

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After acquiring center Lars Eller from the Montreal Canadiens on the opening night of the NHL Draft, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan stated that the team’s attention would turn to re-signing their restricted free agents. On the eve before the official start of the 2016-17 NHL season, MacLellan got one step closer to completing that goal.

Thursday afternoon brought news that the Capitals had re-signed right winger Tom Wilson to a two-year, $4 million contract extension. The deal will pay the rugged Wilson $1.75 million in the 2016-17 season and $2.25 million in 2017-18. Wilson was the only one of Washington’s restricted free agents that did not have any arbitration rights to prolong the negotiation process.

Friday morning, Wilson was on a conference call with local media to talk about the signing. Here are some of the highlights from the call:

-On the emotions about re-signing:

“It’s awesome. I’m obviously really thrilled…I knew right away obviously I wanted to be back in Washington, I love it there…obviously I’m going to try and give all that back like I try and do every night, and just play my role and help the team win.”

-On whether it’s a relief to have the contract completed:

“I think I knew I was going to be back and the term and the money and was just kind of stuff to be sorted out. Like I said, I love playing in Washington. I can’t really imagine playing anywhere else. I don’t understand how people get traded or sign elsewhere in this business because you get tied to that group and you get close, so I’m extremely happy to be back.”

-On how he sees his value:

“I think everyone that’s watched me play or watched the Caps know that I’m kind of a heart and soul guy. I just try and go out there and do whatever I can to help the team win…I’m just going to try and do something every night to prove that I’m good enough to stay in the lineup at first, and then obviously every year grew a little bit and got more and more responsibility. I don’t expect that to change…the responsibility and growth as a player should come…I’m going to continue to grow my game, hopefully offensively, and take on a bigger role kind of every year. It’s exciting times in DC right now. It’s a fun group to be a part of and I’m thrilled.”

-On coaches wanting him to be more like Joel Ward:

“[Ward] is an exceptional guy on and off the ice. Just being compared to him is obviously pretty cool. I know him fairly well. He was like an older brother to me, he was almost kind of like a father figure to me in my first couple years. He’s a great guy and he’s really good at what he does. And I think that if I’m going to help the team out, I’ve got to continue to be really good at what I do and I can grow kind of into that player…he was a guy that I tried to watch as much as I could when he was in DC and I watched the playoffs to see how he was effective…if I could mold into that kind of player that would be awesome.”

-On summer training activities:

“I have a great team in Toronto [in the gym]…it’s starting to ramp up now, I haven’t really been on the ice much until now…I was pretty bored after the season ended, so I just wandered back into the gym and got started again…I have a guy that I’ll be working with for skills…I think the physicality and speed and stuff is there, I’ve just got to continue to develop my game and my skill and my finesse.”


-On seeing Michael Latta not get re-signed:

“He’s actually been in the same gym as me…we work out together every day. He was a little unsure about his situation. Obviously, he’s a great friend. [Latta] he’s a guy who would do anything for his friends…he’d do anything for a teammate, he’d do anything for a friend. He’s a guy I grew close with…it’s a business and guys are going to go all over the place, but he’ll always be a friend…I expect you’ll see him do good things. He’s a good guy. He’s a good player and hopefully he finds a good fit.”

Listen to the full interview (courtesy of Monumental Sports Network)

By Keith Leonard

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