The Capitals lost the services of Tom Wilson for at least the first half of the season after he underwent knee surgery in June. As a result, the Capitals brought in right winger Connor brown in a trade with the Ottawa Senators, ending any concerns related to a right wing deficiency. But Brown doesn’t drop the gloves.
Many surmised last season that the Capitals were thin in the grit department following the departure of Brenden Dillon. That left just Tom Wilson and Garnet Hathaway to provide a bulk of the true nasty for the 2021-22 season. T.J. Oshie has occasionally dropped the gloves, but at this point in his career, it’s likely those days are rapidly dwindling.
So, will the Capitals have enough sandpaper or grit with Tom Wilson out? Likely not. At least how the current roster sits. The Capitals acquired and signed six players this off-season, with none of them really considered “gritty”. It partly reflects the change in the game, away from fighting, but there is still that element.
It will be interesting to see if the Capitals make any kind of tweak to the roster to find additional sandpaper, but it’s likely that won’t happen. They will likely “make do” while Wilson is out.
Anyway, something to keep an eye on.
And with that, I leave you with a flashback to the “good old days” and one of my favorite twin-billed tussles. Tom Wilson got it started and John Erskine immediately followed to lay a fierce 1-2 pummeling of the Toronto Maple Leafs back in January of 2014.