Tom Wilson Is One Of The Most Penalized Rookies Ever

Wilson has an intimate chat with Claude Giroux. (Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Well, here’s something incredible we’ve uncovered about Tom Wilson.

Playing the Florida Panthers on February 27th, Wilson’s third-period slash on Brian Campbell put him at 112 penalty minutes on the year. Those two PIMs helped Wilson overtake the teenager penalty minutes record since 2004-05.

That mark was previously held by — you’ll never guess.

Photo: Jim McIsaac

Yup, Sid.

Sidney Crosby had 110 in 2005-06. But that was just the beginning.

By participating in the line brawl on Wednesday against the Flyers, The Ten Train (aka Tom the Tank Engine aka Willy Baby) surpassed NHL sheriff Brendan Shanahan in rookie penalty minutes (131) by two.

Wilson, who leads the Caps with 12 fighting majors, has 133 PIMs, good for 95th among all rookies ever and 9th all-time for rookie teenagers.

Though the top spot, held by the Sabres’ Brad May is well out of reach (309 minutes), the Capitals right winger is on pace to finish 39th (!!!) all-time on that list by the end of the season.

Wilson is also now 2nd in penalty minutes as a rookie teenager among all active players, with Panthers’ veteran blueliner Ed Jovanovski and his 1995-96 season four minutes ahead (137). Something tells me this record will fall very soon — maybe as soon as tonight, when the Caps square off against Big Bad Boston Bruins.

I think fighting is stupid (really, it is), but maybe other parts of Tom’s game will follow his record-breaking ability to get to the penalty box when he starts playing actual hockey.

  • Tom Martin

    I’m really very much hoping he isn’t already broken. It would be an incredible waste of talent

    Also, is this a coaching problem? I know he likes to talk s***, but I have to think that if Oates said ‘hey, don’t fight, play hockey’, he might go out and use his size, skating ability, and surprisingly good hands to do something that actually matters.

  • Sam W.

    I don’t know whether I should be impressed or depressed by the fact that we have one of the most undisciplined rookies in league history.

  • Shawn Murphy

    If he washes out, I’m holding the Caps coaching staff responsible. Not saying I’m a great hockey mind but in my amateur analysis his potential is legit and at this point the problem seems to be improper useage and guidance

  • “well out of reach”

  • “Never Say Never” – Fedor

  • Myan

    Well he’s only getting about 5:00 a night so I can totally understand how he feels pressured to make something happen in that short amount of time. Couple that with being forced to play alongside Aaron Volpatti or Oates’ flavor of the week, it’s hard to get any offensive chemistry going and so you see him trying to “make something happen” by taking on the role of the enforcer. That is NOT the role we want him to play and I’m disappointed that this trend has continued.

  • Hockey mom

    He is young, please teach him the RIGHT way to do things before it’s too late!

    WE gave up a few things to keep this guy around, so PLEASE let’s make the most of him! Boarding penalties and other fighting BS penalties aren’t putting our biscuits in the basket!

  • Lawrence

    Haha, I love Mojo’s face in that picture.

    “Ohh hes getting in twoubleeee.”

  • Myan

    I think Dustin Penner will be a good influence for him…a guy who uses his size in the right way to create havoc and confusion in front of net. I’m hoping that some of Penner’s grittiness rubs off on Wilson and when he couples that with his natural talent & skating ability, we can have our very own JVR in 2-3 years.

  • Hockey mom

    The way are trending, I’m thinking depressed…if he is our future, who is he learning from?

  • whiteula

    this is hockey. you’re supposed to hit people. did you see the game last night? We need somebody to step up and defend teammates when they’re playing goons like Simmonds, et al. Kudos to Wilson. I hope he keeps it up. Someone has to.

  • Owen Johnson

    No. While we do always need toughness, when we play the Flyers, we need people who won’t be suckered in by their dirty play. Let ’em rot in the penalty box.

  • riggorules

    The most depressing aspect is that GMGM predicted this. He said if Wilson is brought up too soon, he will become a survivor, a scrapper, a goon, instead of working on his skill set in the juniors or AHL. So he went against his own cautionary tale. Sad.

  • VeggieTart

    If the Caps keep him around.

  • northernMD

    I don’t have a problem with how he played last night. Caps down big, they needed some kind of kick in the behind. He didn’t do anything dirty with how he fought or sucker punch anyone. But he doesn’t need to do that every time the caps are down. He needs to be much more judicious about the spots he pics.

  • Myan

    True and that’s a very big if. Either way, I don’t believe that he’s getting the appropriate guidance right now and the coaches aren’t giving him weapons to make the most of his potential.

  • CDizz

    Fighting is stupid? What is this I don’t even

  • I just want to share my opinion. I would have preferred Wilson stay in the OHL this season and focus more on being a goal scorer, but the good news is that his skating looks like it has continued to improve. So has his stick handling, which for a big kid like him is essential. I wouldn’t be too worried. He looks like — when the Caps let him — he has the ability to be one heck of a player. I’d like to see him get a shot in the top six next year.

  • johnnymorte

    Never going to grow his game if he doesn’t get minutes. But we have a “log jam” at right wing with superstar talents like Troy Brouwer and Joel Ward.

  • Five years ago, I’d have the same opinion as you @CDizz:disqus. But after seeing stat upon stat upon stat showing no correlation with fighting and winning — then on top of that you consider the health aspects of it — it’s kinda hard to disagree with.

    I selfishly enjoy the entertainment value of fighting though and the physicality of the sport in general.

  • Owen Johnson

    I liked the fact that Penner was ACTUALLY FORECHECKING last night. That should be a good influence.

  • I’m stoopid

    He needs more time to develop; Maybe if he got off the 4th line and put with play-makers he would put shit in the back of the net.

  • riggorules

    I think I remember reading that they were following the Lucic model, who I believe was in a similar situation in regards to AHL eligibility. The Bruins played him on the fourth line as a teen rookie. But he only took 89 PIMs, slacker.

  • Here was the other photo of that Wilson/Giroux incident.

  • remrats

    I’d hold GMGM responsible. How many times has he said they don’t want to rush prospects to the NHL. It sure feels like they rushed Wilson and now he’s basically become a goon.

  • GregV

    I’m torn on this one. I like the fact that he doesn’t take shit from anyone. We need more of that on this team. To this day, I still laugh at the memory of that rookie camp game where a junior Flyer tried to climb a nonplussed Wilson like a cartoon monkey going after the last banana. We all know how that ended. However, I feel like he’s getting so few minutes on the ice that this is the only way he can prove he’s not just a “rookie teenager” — by bashing bodies around.

    Then again, if I were 19 and built like a brick shithouse, I’d probably be handing out the whoopass, too. Any of us would. As much as the topic of fighting/violence in hockey can divide a room, people seem to respond to the “you-hit-my-teammate-eat-my-fist” kind of action. We like a step-up guy. But I agree that he has potential for more than that. Hopefully soon we’ll start to see exceptional stats from him in other categories.

    PS that lead image is everything.

  • Matt Lauer

    Yup, I agree. I still want to see him on the top line once or twice.

  • stacyh13

    Is it just my son and I, but doesn’t Giroux look like a clown with his orange hair flopping out of the ear holes of his helmet? And my son says clowns are creepy. . .Looks like Tom Wilson is telling Giroux he looks like a clown and that he’s creepy. . .

  • William

    I’m one of those people who feels this year has been a huge waste. As Peter asked/said in an article a few months ago:He’s a goon.

  • Lawrence

    Haha, Mojo makes the best faces in scrums,

    #8 – You looking at me?
    Mojo – No sir I was not sir.

  • Barrett

    I don’t think most people who want to see fighting remain in hockey think in directly correlates to winning, it can however swing momentum (much like a power play, penalty kill or huge save from a goalie). They want to keep fighting for the exact reason of what happened last night with John Erskine going after Simmonds for going at Stoa while he was tangled up with Schenn. That’s what fighting is for, sticking up for teammates who are victims of cheap shots.

  • DC Hockey Nut

    Not gonna try and play this off as though it’s backed with statistical data, but I would expect that fighting serves more of a purpose of generating “wins” in the locker room than on the scoresheet, making it one of those “intangibles” everyone likes to hear about. I’m all for fighting in the NHL, I just wish Wilson wouldn’t spend 5 of his 10 minutes off the bench per game in the penalty box.

  • Lawrence

    And Wilson looks like hes telling Giroux that he found some nasty on his face.

  • yv

    The decision to keep Wilson, instead of sending down, and to ship MP that when Caps season was derailed. His contribution to Caps is with big minus so far, considering that Caps have allowed around dozen goals just in PK when hes sitting in the box because of minor penalties most of which of stupid nature. For now he seems more closer to be an Aron Asham than the future Joe Thornton as AO comparing him with.

  • Myan

    YES. That goal Ovi scored was IMO directly influenced by Penner’s presence in front of Mason. We need to get Tom Wilson in this similar area to screen or fight for loose pucks. Get shots to the net and let the big guy CRASH THE NET. SCOAR MOAR GOALS

  • Myan

    I would LOVE it if we could play Wilson as a Top 6 guy so that he can play that tough guy game vs opponents’ difference makers. It’d be infinitely more beneficial to us if he could coax a top player into a scrum and get the guy off the ice for a few minutes instead of only engaging scrubs.

  • If it led to wins in any way, we’d be able to see it correlated in the stats.

    Remember: both teams fight. Not every fight has a winner. Each team can interpret a fight differently. Fights don’t happen in third periods of close games. Fights don’t happen in playoff games.

  • Swing momentum for whom? The team that won? The team that lost? The team that started it?

    It goes either way– or both ways– with so much unreliability that there’s no discernible difference.

  • ????

    I think the biggest mistake was that since he was being brought up to the Capitals roster, why wasn’t he used more effectively as a third line winger? With the glut of right wingers on the team we should have shipped off two of the three we had under Ovechkin to make room for him (and hell, we could have have gotten a solid d-man in return).

    I think he would have learned a lot more by playing on the third line than the fourth. He’d get more playing time and he’d learn how to play both physical and be more offensive. Look at how good our third line was this year, and Wilson isn’t slow by any means so he could hang pretty well with a guy like Chimera. Just imagine if we got rid of some of the right wingers and kept Perreault around. A line of Chimera, Perreault, and Wilson sounds like a pretty good third line to me.

    If the Capitals management wants to help his development in any way, then they better make room and put him on the third line next year, and if he’s as good as they think he is, then they also test him a few times on the second line as well.

  • Lawrence

    I kinda like the thought of having a first line of Wilson – Backy – Ovi and a 2nd line of Kuznetsov – Grabo – Brouwer

  • Diller M

    That requires Ovi moving back to the left or Willy playing out of position

  • 70Caps

    Crosby’s rookie PIM totals.

    Notice how they are all minors, and the diversity of the minors. (Unsportsmanlike-conduct, Diving, abuse of officials…)

  • Lawrence

    Willy could play left in my mind. In oates, who knows. I don’t know why people think there is such a difference between left wing and right wing, I just dont see it

  • Roy Schue

    Just because you can’t back it up with a stat doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. A good fight will get the crowd back into the game almost as much as a goal does and the players often can feed off the energy of the crowd

  • Diller M

    He probably could with another coach…. The difference is shooting angles, if you are a righty on the left you can’t use your body to get position and take a shot on the forehand.

  • 70Caps

    That’s what Erskine’s for.

  • Then we’d see it reflected in more shots on goal, or more goals, or more hits, or more anything. None of that can be proven.

  • Jonah

    How filthy would a line of penned-kuzya-willy be?
    two giant forecheckers and one quick speedy forward to clean up the mess/mass of bodies left behind

  • DC Hockey Nut

    That’s what I was saying, it may not lead to wins on the scoresheet, but I’d feel better as a player being on a team knowing that my teammates would fight for me if something were to happen. I’d be more willing to do the same right back. That doesn’t mean the players work together any better on the stats sheet or in the win column. I’d just feel better about being in that locker room, regardless of wins or losses.

  • CapsKel

    So, fighting is for… losing?

  • Barrett

    I’d say it depends on the scenario. You can lose a fight, but still gain momentum, especially if you are the home team trying to get the crowd going. You could also lose the fight, but gain momentum for going after a player that puts s cheap shot on a teammate.

    The problem is you cannot measure momentum. Its one of those intangible stats that drive you stat geeks crazy. You don’t need a stat for everything, just watch the game and you’ll see it. If you want to create some sort of stat, go for it, watch every game stat sheets or check every box score and find out.

    You are trying to directly correlate fighting with winning and losing. Proponents of fighting don’t care about that. They care about what the players care about and that’s knowing that someone on their team has the back if/when another team goons up a hockey game. We all know the NHL does a horrible job policing the players. They know it and to an extent the players still police themselves regardless of what the NHL tries to do.

  • Barrett

    It isn’t a win or lose stat.

  • CapsKel

    When the Caps fight, they get in trouble and lose.

  • CapsKel

    A clown whose team is in much better position than ours, maybe.

  • Rhino40

    No surprise about the previous record-holder for PIM’s by teenager. Anyone who watchis him knows that, while Sid-the-Id does possess some mad skills, he also was (and remains) an ill-tempered spoiled brat, incapable of giving credit where it is due, and just plain vicious when things don’t go his way.

  • Rhino40

    Like I said: lots of stick penalties, lots of UC’s. This is why I refer to him as “Sid-the-Id”: more accurate, and less disrespectful to women.

  • Rhino40

    Wilson needs to be tried for 1 or 2 games on the top line with Ovi & Bäckis…if for no other reason than the fact that Oatsie has tried just about everyone else on that off-wing.

  • CapsGirl7443

    thought this when i saw that picture…i love wilson, he deserves more than what he is getting.

  • CapsGirl7443

    meant to attach this

  • Sam W.

    Hitting people isn’t the issue, and this one game against the Flyers isn’t what I’m talking about. This pattern of behavior by Wilson is a problem. He has skill, he has hands. He is being wasted in his role as enforcer.

  • seandlax9

    “I think fighting is stupid (really, it is)”

    No, it isn’t. Having guys who are willing and capable of dropping their gloves and beating the dog piss out of you prevents other teams from taking liberties and cheap shots in games. Its been like that since the inception of the game of hockey.

    The Caps lack of grit in this dept makes them a soft team, that constantly gets pushed around by the tougher teams in the league. We’re so soft that Philly basically wiped their asses with us, and Boston blanked us while not even really trying. Fighting and physicality = pushback. The Caps don’t have that and consistently get walked on.

    This shit isn’t baseball. Stats only tell part of the story.

    If anything, the instigator rule is stupid and is a hindrance to the players policing themselves.