The Washington Capitals have had a busy summer celebrating the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. While celebrating the Stanley Cup, management has been hard at work keeping the Cup winning team together for more Cup runs.
Tom Wilson is up for a new contract this offseason. Wilson elected not to file for salary arbitration with the Capitals. This is usually a good sign between both sides that a deal will get done.
In the 2017-18 regular season, Tom Wilson set career highs with 14 goals and 35 points. Wilson added 5 goals and 15 points to his postseason statistics.
Wilson is not the prototypical scoring forward in the NHL. He is big, physical, and brings a mean nasty snarl to the ice.
There are only a few players in the NHL that bring the same overall game as Tom Wilson. Listed below is a list of players who are close to Tom Wilson.
Josh Anderson (CBJ): 19 goals, 30 points, Cap hit: $1.85M
Antoine Roussel (VAN): 5 goals, 17 points, Cap hit: $3M
Boone Jenner (CBJ): 13 goals, 32 points, Cap hit: $3.75M
Andrew Shaw (MTL): 10 goals, 20 points, Cap hit: $3.9M
Milan Lucic (EDM): 10 goals, 34 points, Cap hit: $6M
The Capitals have an interesting decision to make with Tom Wilson. The 24-year old Toronto native has seen his role expand with the club every year over the last 5 years. At the end of the postseason, Wilson was playing alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin and did not look out of place.
While the Capitals could gamble and try another short-term bridge deal, the Capitals may be best suited to pay Wilson in a long-term deal right now. The salary cap continues to rise every season that goes by, so the Capitals can afford to start giving some of their younger players long-term deals earlier on in their careers.
The other notable thing with Wilson’s deal is his physical play. Players that play the physical style of hockey that Tom Wilson plays typically do not have the longevity in the NHL like other players do.
While the Capitals can probably afford to do a long-term deal with Wilson, they need to keep the term reasonable. It should likely cap at no more than 5-6 years.
While Wilson has not put up the offensive production, he has the ability to play alongside other skilled offensive players. Wilson’s physical presence can change the momentum in a game, as he can create space for his linemates on the ice. Wilson has grown as a solid penalty killer for the Capitals too.
Considering that Wilson can move up and down the lineup, and can play on the penalty kill, it is expected that his annual cap hit should land in the $3.5-5 million range per season.
By: George Foussekis