Photo: The Mercury News
Washington Capitals‘ forward Tom Wilson is coming off his best season in the NHL when he recorded 14 goals, 35 points, and a +10 ratings, all career-highs while mostly playing on the top line with captain Alex Ovechkin. In the playoffs, he played even better with five goals, 15 points, and a +11 rating.
He took some huge steps in his development in 2017-18. His stats don’t tell you the whole story when talking about Wilson’s campaign. The 24-year old Toronto native not only found a home on the top line but became the Capitals‘ go to “fix-it man” and one of the team’s most reliable penalty killers.
Despite a monster breakout season, Wilson wants to improve even more. Part of that is staying out of the penalty box, where he spent 187 minutes in last season. Only San Jose Sharks’ forward Michael Haley had more with 212 penalty minutes. Wilson had 61 more penalty minutes than the next highest leader in penalty minutes (Dallas Stars’ forward Antoine Roussel).
He talked about staying out of trouble this upcoming season in the video below. (Video courtesy of Yahoo Sports)
Wilson was also suspended three times last season. One of which came two games after returning from a suspension and cost him the first four regular-season games. He also got suspended three games in the playoffs after a head-to-head hit on Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward Zach Aston-Reese in the Capitals’ second-round series. Aston-Reese received a concussion and a broken jaw from the hit. He missed the remainder of the series.
While Wilson wants to do his best to stay out of the principal’s office, he also doesn’t want to lose his physical edge that the Capitals want him to have. Wilson was fifth in the NHL with 250 hits last season.
As long as Wilson stays out of trouble and does a good job of complimenting Ovechkin and center Evgeny Kuznetsov like he did last season, he will live up to his fresh six-year, $31 million ($5.17 million AAV) contract he signed July 27.
By Harrison Brown