Photo: Maddie Mayer
For most of his career, Caps 2012 first-round pick Tom Wilson has languished on the team’s fourth line, more a sideshow than a contributing player. When former general manager George McPhee drafted Wilson, it was Wilson’s skating ability, skill, and bruising style that garnered attention.
“When we were in the middle of the playoffs I made a note after the games: remember these games when you’re at the draft,” McPhee said after drafting Wilson. “Remember how intense they are, how physical they are, how demanding they are, and make sure you get someone who wants to play in that kind of stuff.”
Wilson certainly loves to play physical. He’s been in the NHL’s top seven in penalty minutes over the last three seasons, including third this year with 96 PIMs. He has delivered crushing hits, including one that injured veteran Lubomir Visnovsky in the playoffs. Wilson has been a league leader in fights, recording around 29 bouts in the last three years.
Wilson has been a punishing fixture in the line-up for years, but we’ve seen few glimmers of Wilson’s offensive talent. Until now.