Tom Wilson: The Washington Capitals Heart and Soul

Tom Wilson: A Star in the Making

Who is Tom Wilson?  Where did he come from?  What makes him so good?  The Washington Capitals 1st round pick of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft has become one of the top young guns in the Capitals organization.

Wilson makes a lot of noise on the ice with his big hits and many scraps.  For a guy who takes the role of “enforcer” or “tough guy” or “goon,” Wilson is actually different from those traditional roles.

Tom Wilson (CHL Images)
Tom Wilson (CHL Images)

What makes Wilson different?  Tom Wilson has a set of hands and can actually play and can contribute on the ice.  He can pay the price by standing in front of the net and he can also shoot the puck well.

What Does Wilson Do Well?

Tom Wilson can contribute in various areas of the game.  He can hit, agitate, and can drop the gloves.  He is versatile and can play up and down the lineup through the four forward lines.

The 20-year old Toronto native plays reckless hockey to a certain degree.  He plays hard and he is difficult to play against.  He plays to the line, but he never usually crosses the line.

The Washington Capitals have lacked this type of forward in the organization for years.  While the Capitals have typically drafted smaller forwards with more skill in recent years, they have a different package with Tom Wilson.  Wilson’s size and tenacity on the ice is something that is hard to find and acquire.

Wilson’s Areas To Improve

Hitting, check.  Fighting, check.  Shooting ability, check.  Where does Tom Wilson need to improve?

His ceiling is very high and he could always improve in various areas.  While he is tough to play against, he is not the best puck possession player.  Wilson has one of the lowest “on ice shooting percentages” when he is on the ice.  Now that he is seeing top line minutes with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, his shooting percentage will be affected.  Ovechkin affects the rest of his linemates because he shoots the puck more than anyone else on the team.

Another area Wilson could improve on is his puck control and his willingness to take the puck to the net.  Wilson is a huge individual and a very powerful man.  I would like to see him run over his opponents to take the puck to the net.  Instead of being passive because of Ovechkin’s presence, he could shoot the puck a little bit more to take some of the pressure off of Ovechkin.  Wilson can cycle the puck and can retrieve pucks in the corners well, but he needs to throw more pucks at the net.  Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom are good at getting to the net and they are affective when they are able to find loose rebounds.

Wilson, Please Do Not Change

I like the way Tom Wilson plays.  Any NHL club needs a guy who can bring the set of intangibles he brings.  While he is not the flashiest player with the most amount of skill, his toughness and sandpaper is something that is valuable.

Wilson is a guy who can change the tone in games.  The way he changes the tone is by delivering crushing hits.  He has a presence about him that few players carry with them.  Wilson can easily intimidate the opposition with his size and fighting ability.

Some NHL players that are comparables to Tom Wilson include Milan Lucic (BOS), Dustin Brown (LA), Andrew Shaw (CHI), David Backes (STL), and Ryan Callahan (TB).  These players all contribute in the same areas of the rink.  They can agitate and mix it up with the opposition.  They are all tough to play against.

If Tom Wilson can focus his hands on scoring and better puck possession, he will become one of the most dominant players in the NHL today.  If he can deliver the scoring in the top six role he has been placed in now, he will help the Capitals go a long way.  He is still young and has a long way to go.  He is almost the complete package as a hockey player.  I cannot wait to watch him develop and grow into a star.  The potential is there for Wilson.  I am confident that Barry Trotz and his coaching staff will help Wilson’s development as a dominant player.

Thanks for tuning in!