Heading into the 2018 offseason, the Capitals’ to-do list mountain was one many believed would be difficult to climb, with the likes of John Carlson, Michal Kempny, and Devante Smith-Pelly (among others) in need of new contracts after outstanding 2017-18 season and postseason performances, the future of the team’s former Head Coach in question, and the challenge of keeping a Stanley Cup-winning team together. While the team has checked off most of the above, Restricted free agent Tom Wilson has yet to sign a new contract with the team, despite both sides having stated interest in a reunion. In this piece, NoVa Caps takes a look at some possible explanations why the two have yet to reach an agreement.
Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan recently stated that the team is interested in locking the former first-round pick to a long-term deal after the rugged winger finished the 2017-18 regular season and postseason with a career-high 35 and 15 points, respectively. While it is still relatively early in terms of the offseason, it is likely safe to assume that MacLellan and the Capitals would rather get a contract signed earlier rather than later in the summer. So what gives?
Tom Wilson did not file for arbitration ahead of today’s deadline. The RFA and the #Caps will continue to negotiate. GM Brian MacLellan said earlier this week, “I would like [a] long-term [extension]…I’d prefer to keep him around for as long as we can.”
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨️🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) July 5, 2018
One possible explanation could be that Wilson, who did not elect for salary arbitration, is currently not available to sign a deal should his representative and the team reach an agreement, as he and girlfriend Taylor Pischke are currently in Europe. While this makes logical sense, the lack of reported discussion between his agent and the team gives reason that this is simply not the case.
Another, more likely reason could simply be that the two sides have simply not been able to come to terms on a deal both find satisfactory or that they are not on the same page when it comes to what each wants. The fact that Wilson elected not to file for arbitration could indicate that he believes that his agent and the Capitals will be able to come to an agreement at some stage in the coming weeks. The Capitals have expressed interest in locking Wilson up to a long-term contract to keep him in the DMV for as long possible, and despite his career season, it could presumably come at a reasonable cost. Wilson’s most recent deal was a two-year, $4 million deal with an annual salary of $2 million, and because 2017-18 was the only season in which he has reached a double-digit goal total and 30-plus points, he is still relatively “unproven” as a productive, offensive player. When one looks at negotiations from this perspective, it makes sense if Wilson’s side prefers a shorter, prove-it deal that would give him an opportunity to solidift himself as an offensive weapon, which would inevitably raise his asking price and worth on a long-term deal.
Of course, the above hypothesis could end up resulting in the exact opposite, and the fact that both sides continue to negotiate is a positive sign that a new deal could in fact come sooner rather than later. Wilson is without question a core piece of the Caps’ future and going forward will continue to be a valuable presence on the first-line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. While it took four seasons, Wilson’s potential as a physical, offensively-productive power forward has finally been realized.
By Michael Fleetwood
Willy is a physical, high energy power forward who can play on any line and his numbers get a boost playing with topline stars like OV&Kuzy while he provides extra space.
Hes worth somewhere in 3.5mil range over 4-5 yrs.
Where you get caught is when you pay a Wilson type 5-6mil +per year and way over value them like how the Oilers are stuck with Lucic now. At 3-4mil per that 30-40 point physical 185 Penalty Minute Taking Enforcer Esque Power Forward is worth every penny. But once you cross a certain dollar thats true superstar $$$ 65-70 point per season guys bonefied goal scorers etc.
I love Tom Wilson… I love the way he plays with passion and eagerness… Reminds me of another Caps from the past… Chris Simon… I just hope he doesn’t become the second coming of Chris Simon once the big contract is signed…
I may be wrong but if Tom was to sign a 2 year deal this summer then he would be a FA after that contract ran out. SO maybe what gets done is a contract that escalates in salary from say $3 mil for 18/19 to $6 mil in 23/24. That means he gets signed for the next 6 years. That would keep Tom here until he is 30 and he would have signed a 5 year $26 mil contract. Will that be enough to keep Tom here? Will he want some typeo no trade or limited no trade clause in the contract. Or is he thinking sign a 2 year deal and become a FA and hope that my scoring has improved the next two years and his penalties have gone way down and hope that he gets a 6-8 year deal at 26 for 50-70 mil.
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Tom Wilson is somewhat unique. His value is way more than g/a/p. His intangibles and the fear he generates combined with the important points he provides are pretty close to irreplaceable. He is young, strong,quick, and formidable. We already have lost an underated, difficult to replace piece(Beagle, which was unavoidable). Let’s not do it again! SIGN HIM.
Tom Wilson – is a game changer.- When the Caps are flat he comes out and delivers a big hit or drops the gloves to get his teammates going. That type of player is rare. With that said, 4 mil per year is the number for 4 years.