Photo: Sporting News
Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson‘s suspension was reduced to 14 games from 20 by neutral arbitrator Shyam Das on Tuesday, the NHL announced. Wilson appealed to a neutral arbitrator after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the suspension the first time Wilson appealed.
Tom Wilson’s suspension reduced to 14 games by arbitrator. No time machine to play, but does get salary back
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 13, 2018
Wilson, who signed a six-year contract worth $31 million ($5.17 million AAV) with the Capitals on July 27, was ejected from the final Capitals preseason game against the St. Louis Blues on September 30 for an illegal check to the head on forward Oskar Sundqvist, who missed the Blues’ first eight games this season but is now back in the Blues’ lineup.
Wilson will be eligible to return tonight against the Minnesota Wild.
Bettman explained that the length of the suspension was appropriate when Wilson appealed the first time. NHL Department of Player Safety head George Parros explained that the department got to that number by doubling the length of Wilson’s last suspension (three) since it was in the playoffs, multiplied that number by his number of repeat offenses (three), and added two games because of the severity of Sundqvist’s injury.
With the reduction in his suspension, Wilson retains about $380K in lost salary.
The reduced suspension saves Tom Wilson $378,048.78 in lost salary. https://t.co/Qecx2nxVQy
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 13, 2018
The full case can be found here.
Wilson had a breakout season last year, tallying 14 goals, 35 points, and a +10 rating in 78 games and five goals, 15 points, and a +10 rating in 21 playoff games while playing on the top line with forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin.
With Wilson out of the lineup, Capitals’ forward Brett Connolly started the season skating in his spot on the top line with Kuznetsov and Ovechkin. Forwards Chandler Stephenson, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Jakub Vrana, each got time in that spot. Forwards T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom skated with Ovechkin on the top line on Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes, a 4-1 loss.
Part of the reason why Wilson was given such a big suspension initially was the frequency of his suspensions. The Department of Player Safety pointed out when they announced the details of the suspension that this was Wilson’s fourth suspension in his past 105 games and second in his past 16.
NHL and NHLPA statement on Tom Wilson suspension.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 13, 2018
Wilson played a big role during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run last season, killing penalties, creating offense, opening up space for his teammates, and setting the tone with his physical play. Getting him back sooner rather than later is a huge plus for the Capitals.
By Harrison Brown