Every Way In Which Tom Wilson Is or Is Not a Bust

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

On Monday, we published a smart and layered discussion by Myan Tran about Tom Wilson‘s development. That article comes after months of discussion among the RMNB staff on the same topic. That article and those discussions all seemed to revolve around the idea of a bust, a delightfully subjective and nebulous term that is also a function of expectations that vary based on whom you ask.

In a beautifully complex world of fractal mathematics and ASOIAF conspiracy theories, a yes/no debate about a divisive player is excessively stupid. The conversation quickly wanders off topic and into a battlefield. GIFs are deployed like explosive ordnance. Proxy wars are waged by strawmen.

But I come to you from above the fray to settle, once and for all, the Tom Wilson bust debate.

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Is Tom Wilson a Bust?

Tom Wilson at development camp

Photo: Chris Gordon

Myan Tran is a long-time RMNB reader. She writes from Northern Virginia to settle an argument we’ve been waging among ourselves for months.

A lot has been said about whether Tom Wilson has reached or will ever reach the potential expected of a first-round draft pick. When we start talking about whether Tom Wilson is a “bust” in comparison to his peers, the conversation always turns into “well, what is a bust and who are his peers?” We’ll talk about what a “bust” is later.

First, let’s talk about who Tom’s peers are.

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Tom Wilson’s Giant Hit on Nikita Zadorov

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With the Colorado Avalanche fighting for the final spot in the West and the Washington Capitals trying to get Braden Holtby his 47th win of the season, Friday’s late season game took on a furious pace, full of end-to-end action. The energetic play took a scary turn about five minutes into the second period when Tom Wilson unleashed an explosive hit on Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov.

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The Caps flew to Denver Thursday afternoon ahead of their 77th game of the season against the Colorado Avalanche. It sounds like the cross-country flight was not enjoyable for Michael Latta.

That’s because his roommate Tom Wilson was annoying him the entire time.

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Noted goon Marcus Johansson is at it again — wait, wrong Swede. What I meant to say was: Andre Burakovsky, the team’s player with the most penalty minutes — no, that’s not right either…

Oh. Tom Wilson and Michael Latta, penalty-box regulars, have been doing some very important work at practice recently: teaching their skill forwards how to fight. Playoff hockey is right around the corner, and even though fighting is discouraged, a player has to be ready for anything.

Unfortunately, it does not appear as if the skill forwards wanted to learn.

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Graphic by Amanda Bowen

Tuesday, Tom Wilson turned 22 years old. Willy Baby got a million well wishes online by Caps fans but it was three special wishes I want to point you to. They were from Wilson’s roommate Michael Latta (2) and Andre Burakovsky.

Latta called Wilson a lot of things I’m guessing he’s not and Burakovsky brought out the old #brobeans hashtag.

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Tom Wilson has played in 224 career NHL games. He has never scored a game-winning goal.

Monday night at Verizon Center, that changed due to some hard work and good luck. 3:46 into the third period, the fourth line forced a turnover in the defensive zone. Daniel Winnik put a shot on net. Wilson and Mike Richards crashed the net. As Richards drew a Blue Jacket’s attention in the crease, Wilson, wide open, backhanded the rebound past Sergei Bobrovski as he fell to his knees.

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Capitals forward Tom Wilson is a massive human. The 6’4″, 215-pound checking-line forward is a great skater who uses his speed and power to separate players from pucks and tire out opposing teams with bodychechecks. Wilson ranks 26th in hits per game (3.1). During his three seasons in the NHL, Wilson has had a few notable hits.

Like this hit on Lubomir Visnovsky. Or that time he checked three Blue Jackets at once. Or that time he checked Derrick Pouliot’s hair out of its helmet. Or that time he leveled Christian Ehrhoff twice on the same play.

So what does it look like to stare down one of these beefy Tom Wilson bodychecks? Thanks to NBCSN, we now know: it’s scary.

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Andre Burakovsky and Tom Wilson Swapped Faces and It’s Weird

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Photo: @washcaps

While you were watching the D.C. Eagle cam hoping to catch of glimpse of some very American cinnamon rolls, two of your favorite Caps cinnamon rolls — brobeans Andre Burakovsky and Tom Wilson — were participating in the latest social media craze: face swapping.

In the picture above, which the Caps shared via something called “Snapchat” and also Twitter (“thanks,” said the olds), you’ll see Willy Baby’s face on Dre’s body, and Burky’s face on Tommy’s body.

Katie Brown captured Dre’s commentary from inside the locker room:

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Ищем выставку Вангога😱#rodeodrive

A photo posted by Evgeny Kuznetsov (@kuzy092) on

Just because Brooks Laich is gone (and following him on Instagram), doesn’t mean Tom Wilson has stopped commenting on his teammates’ accounts. Au contraire, my friend!

Tuesday night, Evgeny Kuznetsov posted a photo of three of the Caps’ Russians in Beverly Hills, hanging out on Rodeo Drive.

After seeing the photo, Wilson had a special message for Stan Galiev.

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