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Washington Capitals

Should He Stay Or Should He Go: Tom Wilson



Capitals forward Tom Wilson wants to move on after the Rangers incident.
Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) enters the penalty box during a game between the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals on March 5, 2021, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

After the Washington Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time in nine years, there is very little that is off the table in terms of potential roster moves.

Alex Ovechkin is here to stay, sure, as is John Carlson and, barring injury, probably Nicklas Backstrom too. Should Tom Wilson join that list?

Today, Washington Hockey Now looks at Wilson, a skilled younger player among aging teammates. A homegrown player, he could be on the table if Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan looks to shake things up.

The Case For Keeping Him

Separating with Wilson would mean separating with a player who, in his entire professional life, has known nothing but the Washington Capitals.

A first-round pick of the Capitals in 2012, Wilson has been a part of most of the team’s recent successes — including the 2018 Stanley Cup win. He’s been a stalwart on the wing for 10 seasons and, when healthy, has been a consistently productive player.

At 29-years old, Wilson is arguably the team’s best younger player, and he stands to be a key bridge to the next era of Capitals hockey as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and TJ Oshie are in their late 30s. And while Wilson only played in 33 games last season, there’s no reason to suspect he won’t be a key contributor on the ice moving forward.

The Case For Moving On

Above-average in all assets of the game, Wilson’s skills could be much better suited for a team with higher contention odds than the Capitals. Two years removed from a career-high 52-point season, Wilson isn’t going to be a focal point, but he has a track record of being a consistent producer.

And with that, the Capitals would likely receive the most value in a Wilson trade now, considering that his contract is set to expire next offseason. Numerous teams have kicked the tires on Wilson, according to reports, so the team will have no lack of suitors.

A Wilson deal could help the Capitals get younger, akin to last season’s Rasmus Sandin trade, or could even result in a return of prospects to usher in the next era of Capitals hockey.

Jared Serre covers the Washington Capitals for Washington Hockey Now. He is a graduate of West Virginia University.