Tom Wilson Is The Best Player On The Washington Capitals

Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Washington Capitals have been blessed with great players during the Alex Ovechkin era. There is obviously Ovechkin himself. You also had Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, and other highly talented players that didn’t stick around as long, like Mike Green and Alex Semin.

While the Capitals may not be as deep offensively as they once were, we now live in a time where you could honestly and sincerely say that Tom Wilson is the best player on this team. The same Tom Wilson, at least in name, that has the reputation of being nothing but a goon. The same Tom Wilson that when you mention him to other fans around the league you get an audible groan and likely an eye roll at the same time.

While I will not defend everything this guy has done or will potentially do you can’t seriously deny how good he has become. He is unlike any player in the NHL today. He stands at 6’4″ and is probably over 220lbs. That is one big dude. He is a very good skater which means he can get that big frame around quickly. And yes, he enjoys hitting. I’m just going to assume when he does throw the clean hit that it is not fun to get hit by a fast moving 6’4″ 220 pound human. That physicality or even just the threat of physicality will make an impact on pretty much every game.

But Wilson is not just a hitter or a physical player. He is not just a goon like fans will say. He is a legitimate threat to score, and that threat has made him, in my eyes, the best player on the Capitals today.

Ovechkin has not had the offensive punch so far this season. Backstrom is gone. Kuznetsov has been a healthy scratch. Oshie is having difficulties scoring. Carlson isn’t having quite as big an impact as previous seasons.

Other players are having good seasons for sure. It is not all Wilson here. Dylan Strome continues to show he is at the very least a top six center. Connor McMichael is putting it all together this season. Putting together good showings and putting up points. I think goalies deserve their own category, but Charlie Lindgren has been fantastic as well.

But when you watch Capitals games you cannot walk away from the game and not notice Tom Wilson and it is because he has such an impact on the game both physically and on the scoreboard.

So far this season Wilson has 9 goals and 15 points in the 25 games he has played. His 9 goals are second to Strome’s 11, and his 15 points is second to Ovechkin’s 16.

Wilson has never scored thirty goals in a season, but he has a shot this season. He is currently on pace for about 29 goals. Last season he played in only 33 games, yet he still was able to score 13 times. That pace over an 82 game season would have seen Wilson end the year at 32 goals. This guy is a serious threat to score.

When you look at the Capitals advanced numbers this season there isn’t a lot to like. In terms of Corsi% there are only three lineup regulars who have a CF% above 50%. Wilson leads those three at 51.23. To be fair Strome is .01 behind him. Ovechkin is the other at 50.21.

Wilson’s other advanced numbers are 50% scoring chance for% and his high danger attempts% is well below fifty at 48.03%. All of that giving him an xGF% of 47.63, again, not great, but not many have good numbers on this team either.

There are a couple of numbers that I like looking at that do show how good Wilson has been. He leads the team in both individual scoring chances, and high danger attempts, and for the most part, neither is really that close. He has a total of 54 scoring chances, the next highest is 43 which is Alex Ovechkin. Wilson also has 27 high danger attempts and that leads second place Strome by 6, Strome having 21 attempts.

For good measure, Wilson has 64 hits this season. Beck Malenstyn has 63 hits. After them it is a big dropoff. Ovechkin is at 44, Fehervary is at 42.

It should be noted all of these numbers are 5v5.

You’re always going to have people who say something like, “Ovechkin is the best player on the team, just look at his career stats!” then act like they just got you or something. Well, Gretzky is the all time leader in goals and points in hockey. It doesn’t mean he is currently the best hockey player. Ovechkin is probably the greatest goal scorer of all time, doesn’t mean he is the best in the NHL today.

Tom Wilson plays with one of the greatest ever. But all you have to do is watch the games and see the impact he has on games. He has a greater impact on the game than anyone else on the team. The physicality and over the last handful of seasons, the scoring ability.

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Wilson will give you plenty of hits every season, beat up his opponents, and over the last couple of seasons is showing he can score at a 30+ goal rate. Show me another player like Tom Wilson. Right now, show me a player who is better on the Washington Capitals. I don’t think you can.