Photo: NBC Washington
After a strong postseason, forward Tom Wilson was expected to begin the season on the first line with forward Alex Ovechkin and center Evgeny Kuznetsov but he might have to wait before he skates in that spot.
Wilson, 24, was given a match penalty for a high hit to the head of St. Louis Blues’ forward Oskar Sundqvist in the Washington Capitals’ 5-2 victory over the Blues. Sundqvist left the game and did not return, which leads to the question whether or not Wilson will get suspended.
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.”
“He’s definitely hurt. Obviously, he hasn’t seen a doctor yet, but I would be surprised if he didn’t miss a decent amount of time here.”
“He has a couple upper body injuries. He’s in a bad spot right now. I feel bad for him.” https://t.co/f78vlF9tpB
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) September 30, 2018
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 Ovechkin and 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 long as he stays out of trouble and produces, both the team and the player will be very happy with his new contract.
By Harrison Brown