Photo: Nick Wass, AP
Washington Capitals‘ forward Tom Wilson was offered an in-person hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Sunday for his hit on St. Louis Blues’ forward Oskar Sundqvist in the Capitals’ 5-2 win over the Blues. The Department is required to offer an in-person hearing “if the infraction might require a suspension of six games or more,” according to the League.
Wilson, 24, was given a match penalty for a high hit to the head Sundqvist, who left the game and did not return.
Washington’s Tom Wilson has been offered an in-person hearing for an Illegal Check to the Head on St. Louis’ Oskar Sundqvist. Date and time TBD.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) October 1, 2018
Blues’ head coach Mike Yeo told reporters after the game that Sundqvist “was not good” and “I would be surprised if he didn’t miss a decent amount of time here.”
Wilson has suspended been three times in the past year, including twice against the Blues in the preseason last year. Both hits were up high and caused injury to the victim of the hit. Wilson also got a suspension of three games for a hit to the head on Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward Zach-Aston Reese in Game 3 of the second round series between the two teams last Spring.
Wilson tallied 14 goals, 35 points, and a +10 rating in 78 regular season games and five goals, 15 points, and a +11 rating in 21 playoff games last season. He mostly played on the top line with forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and was highly effective there. In addition to producing offense, he opened up space for Kuznetsov and Ovechkin and set the tone with his physicality. He is also one of the Capitals’ best penalty killers and the team’s “fix-it” man.
The Capitals cannot afford Wilson to miss a handful of games this year due to suspension. Both Wilson and the team have previously stated that they want him to stay physical without getting in trouble with the Department of Player Safety.
The Capitals signed Wilson to a six-year contract worth $31 million ($5.17 million AAV)over the offseason, which puts more pressure on Wilson to stay out of trouble as one of the team’s highest-paid forwards.
By Harrison Brown