Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson played in his 600th career NHL game on Friday night against the Blues in St. Louis. He is the third-youngest forward inCapitals’ franchise history to reach the milestone, behind Mike Gartner and Alex Ovechkin.
At 27 years and 284 days old, Wilson became the fifth-youngest player in franchise history to reach the milestone, behind Scott Stevens (26 years, 37 days), Kevin Hatcher (26 years, 193 days), Mike Gartner (27 years, 109 days) and Alex Ovechkin (27 years, 220 days).
Wilson is the 22nd player in franchise history to reach the 600-game milestone, the fifth among active players, and the third among active forwards to reach that milestone with the franchise, the others being Alex Ovechkin (1231), Nicklas Backstrom (1014), John Carlson (843), and Dmitry Orlov (601).
Current Capitals’ players TJ Oshie (872) and Lars Eller (825) have also played over 600 NHL games but neither have reached 600 games with the Capitals franchise. Wilson is also the second player to reach the mark this season, with Dmitry Orlov having also recently reaching the milestone on New Year’s Eve.
Among Wilson’s 2012 NHL Draft class, Wilson will become the second player to reach the mark, joining Toronto’s Morgan Rielly (604 games). He is also the first forward from his draft class to reach the 600 games milestone.
This season, Wilson has recorded 24 points (9 goals and 15 assists) in 30 games and is on pace for his highest points per game total (0.80) and also on pace to eclipse the 50-point mark for the first time in his career.
“Very privileged to be part of such a great organization with such great players and it’s been a lot of fun.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 7, 2022
Since 2017-18, Wilson has scored a goal on 14.6% of his shots (79 goals on 542 shots), which is tied for the second-highest shooting percentage among Capitals with at least 200 games played during that span (T.J. Oshie: 17.8%; Ovechkin: 14.6%).
The Capitals drafted Tom Wilson in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft with the sixteenth overall pick. The team envisioned him as a power forward in the mold of Milan Lucic, then with the Boston Bruins. He began his Capitals career in 2013-14 and was generally used on the fourth line in the role of enforcer, a role considered to be a poor use of a first round pick.
In subsequent years, Wilson added penalty killing as one of his roles, even though he was often on the fourth line. He racked up a lot of penalty minutes, too.
Hear from the man of the hour, @tom_wilso ahead of career game No. 600!
Congrats, Willy 🥳
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 8, 2022
Midway through the 2017-18 season, he earned a promotion to the Capitals’ top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. His offense improved as well and he had 14 goals.
His offense continued to improve in 2018-19, when he ended up reworking his game to avoid getting suspended as often and topped 20 goals for the first time in his career. He has established himself as a top Six forward who can score 20 goals per year, even as he has retained his physical game.
By Diane Doyle
Tom Wilson Will Skate In His 500th NHL Game Monday Night Against The Hurricanes
Tom Wilson On Capitals’ Offseason Moves: “I Haven’t Changed My Game Over The Years Depending On Who’s In The Lineup Or Who’s Out. I Try To Play To My Identity As Best [As] I Can.”
Capitals Today on Wilson 600 Game Milestone
Dmitry Orlov Plays in 600th Game For Washington Capitals