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When is a Hit Worth a Quarter of a Goal?

Some of Tom Wilson's contributions can be pretty easily overlooked if you're not paying attention

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Hits are a much-maligned statistic in the hockey world these days, as well they should be. Generally if a team is doing a lot of hitting, it's because they don't have the puck all that much... and that's not a good thing.

But hits aren't completely without value as a means of regaining possession, getting a psychological edge over an opponent or providing other benefits, quantifiable or otherwise.

And then there's a hit like this one, that's actually worth about a quarter of a goal:

That's Tom Wilson laying out Blackhawks' captain Jonathan Toews. Cleanly. Soon thereafter, Toews' teammate Viktor Tikhonov sought to send a message to Wilson that he didn't appreciate the hit (despite it's squeaky cleanliness), and got whistled for a minor for his bug-to-a-windshield act of retribution. This, of course, put the League's most deadly power play on the ice and 17 hockey seconds later the Caps had the lead and were on their way to victory.

Tom Wilson has shown an ability to draw penalties so far in his young career, and that's a good thing. Because with a power play that converts at around 25%, every one of those penalties drawn is worth a quarter of a goal (and even if he just breaks even here, with a penalty kill rate around 80%, that's still a net win for the Caps).

It's a contribution that can be overlooked, but really shouldn't be.