Washington Capitals 2012 first round pick Tom Wilson has made the team’s opening night roster. Wilson was perhaps the most talked-about story at training camp, and George McPhee has traded a proven NHL commodity, Mathieu Perreault, to allow cap space for Wilson.
Tyson Strachan didn’t make the team; will Tom Wilson? (Photo credit: Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)
With the deadline to submit opening-day rosters approaching at 5:00 PM Tuesday, the Washington Capitals moved towards finalizing their 23-player roster with a flurry of moves on Sunday.
The Caps assigned defensemen Michal Cajkovsky, Dmitry Orlov, and Tyson Strachan (who cleared waivers at noon) and forward Dane Byers to the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears. They have also placed forward Joel Rechlicz on waivers. Today was the final day players could be put on waivers before rosters must be set, meaning the Caps won’t be able to demote any more players who have those rights.
That leaves Washington with 21 players on the roster (13 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders) and three prospects trying to crack the lineup: Connor Carrick, Tom Wilson, and Michael Latta.
If Tom Wilson doesn’t make the Washington Capitals roster out of training camp, he will return to the Plymouth Whalers knowing he did all he could. On Friday night, Wilson had a goal, an impressive fight, and drew a penalty in another fantastic game for the 19-year-old Canadian.
Monumental Network provided a live telecast of the Caps Alumni game Thursday to the delights of thousands. During the game’s third period, Washington Capitals radio man John Walton and Comcast SportsNet sideline reporter Al Koken noticed some Caps players watching the game along the boards. After one particularly brutal shift by Olie Kolzig (on defense!), Monumental’s cameras panned to goalie Braden Holtby, flanked by teammates Tom Wilson, Steve Oleksy, and Andre Burakovsky (seen above checking out his guns). Holtby couldn’t stop laughing.
Let’s hope Braden comes back to play in alumni games after he retires. I can’t wait to see how funny he thinks it is then when he can’t fully crouch and a 70-year-old Kolzig is scoring goals on him.
While 2012 first-round pick Tom Wilson received all the glory last year after appearing in Hershey’s and Washington’s playoff series, Carrick — Wilson’s teammate on the Plymouth Whalers — led all OHL defenseman in playoff scoring and earned himself a post-season invite to the Bears as well. Caps assistant coach Calle Johansson believes that Carrick, with the right coaching, has the potential to be a top-four defenseman in the NHL, which would be a huge return on investment on a fifth-round pick.
A lot of good material from my interview with Carrick ended up on the cutting room floor. He’s a thoughtful, charming dude, motivated to make the most of his opportunity in hockey. My favorite part of the conversation was a story he shared about playing playoff hockey against the London Knights with Tom Wilson.
During the Washington Capitals preseason opener, Hockey Night In Canada made a big freakin’ deal about Tom Wilson. The 2012 first-round pick is on the bubble for a roster spot, and CBC wanted us to know just how very hard this decision is going to be for Caps management.
Oates compared The Ten Train to this former Flyers great.
In the first period, one of the CBC commentators brought up how when they talked Adam Oates before the game, the Caps head coach said that Wilson reminds him of retired Philadelphia Flyers pivot Eric Lindros.
Sideline reporter Cassie Campbell asked Wilson (without the HNIC towel!!) about the comparison during the second intermission.
“That’s huge,” Wilson said. “I think growing up that was my older brother’s favorite player and obviously [Lindros was] a well-respected guy in the hockey world and a big body. That’s a pretty big compliment.”
Wilson also explained what he thought he needs to do to make the team this season. “I think for me it’s just to play smart,” he explained. “I gotta know my role here. I’m coming in here being a third- or fourth-line guy. Unfortunately [my line] got a couple of minuses out there in the second period, but Beagle, Volpatti, and I are going to look to turn it back the other way in the third.”
In the third period, Wilson atoned, knocking over two Jets during his first shift on the ice. He almost scored on a deflection attempt.
The Caps rookie also knocked 205-pound Zach Redmond over like a bag of feathers.
Tom Wilsongot into two fights during Monday’s rookie game, prompting some unscheduled dental work. The Washington Capitals’ first-round pick in 2012 got clipped up high by a Flyers prospect in the second period, bleeding from the mouth as he made his way back to the bench. No call was made, natch. Wilson said later one of his bottom teeth got chipped in two.
“That’s an expensive non-call,” Wilson told reporters after the game. “They just numbed me up and then I got back out there.”