Washington Capitals: Tom Wilson worth more than stats


With the Washington Capitals and forward Tom Wilson avoiding arbitration over his new contract let’s take a look at everything he brings to the table.

A well-known NHL enforcer, Tom Wilson has netted 35 goals and 69 assists in his five seasons with the Washington Capitals. The 2017-18 season was the best of his career with 14 goals and 21 assists spending most of his minutes with the top line.

His numbers might not scream “Top Line Tommy” but watch him jet into the offensive zone on a forecheck and finish a strong hit, making the breakout go awry, and his value becomes clear.

Wilson’s aggressive play stretches defenses thin, forces mistakes, and frees up the ice for Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. Giving those playmakers room to maneuver is just as valuable to the Caps offensive success as the assist numbers.

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Finishing third among forwards in short-handed time on ice shows he’s an essential element of the Caps penalty kill. His physical play translates into a shot blocker role while he locks down the top d-men in the league.

This fearlessness endears him to his teammates and creates chances to get the puck clear of the zone. In the neutral zone, he uses contact to force bad passes and stop the offensive momentum. And his forecheck has buried more than puck in the corner for an extended period of time.

Most importantly, Wilson is an enforcer. Everyone in the league is aware of that fact and it affects their play.

We’ve heard players spend post-game interviews talking more about a Wilson hit than why their team lost.

We regularly see skaters turn the puck over at the sight of a human rocket barreling towards them. He’s the first player to step in the middle of a scuffle and put an end to it. And he’s clearly the most anxious player to drop gloves to defend a teammate.

This playstyle has gotten him in trouble with the league. Also, he’s consistently near the top of the league in penalty minutes but his style makes him an absolute gem of a teammate. He’s the guy everyone on the team can count on when a game gets physical.

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With Tom Wilson’s contract extension ongoing with the Washington Capitals, we’ll see exactly what these traits are worth to the front office.