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2014-15 Rink Wrap: Tom Wilson

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From Alzner to Wilson, we're taking a look at and grading the 2014-15 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2015-16. Last but not least, Tom Wilson.

Clyde Caplan

Japers' Rink Player Card (click for a hi-res version, and a glossary of terms used in this post can be found here; data via NHL.comwar-on-ice.comGeneral Fanager and Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com):

Wilson card

Wilson linemates

Wilson usage

Wilson's Rolling Shot-Attempt (Corsi) -For Percentage (2013-15):

Wilson Rolling CF

Wilson's HERO Chart (via Own The Puck):

Wilson HERO

Wilson's Two Seasons (via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com; click to enlarge):

Wilson HA

Previous Rink Wrap: 2013-14 (5.17 rating)

Key Stat: Wilson led the NHL in 5-on-5 penalties drawn per 60 minutes with 1.9 (min 40 GP and 10 min per game).

Interesting Stat: During the regular season, Wilson played at least 10 minutes 41 times—25 more times than he did in 2013-14.

The Good: Wilson saw significant improvement in boxcar stats in his second season. In 15 fewer games, he earned 82 more minutes, scoring one more goal, posting six more assists (for 1.00 assists/60, which ranked third among team forwards), and registering 16 more shots on goal and 17 more scoring chances. He drew penalties more often (relative to his ice time) than anyone else on the team. His possession numbers also improved (driven by improvements to both shots for and shots against) to the point of being positive relative to the team.

In 2014-15, Wilson also saw extended time alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, and while he didn't stand out, he looked to be competent. Although Wilson's 2-7-9 with 35 shots on goal in his 324 minutes with Ovechkin fell in line with his production rates away from Ovechkin, the Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Wilson trio controlled a healthy 55% of the shot attempts and goals.

In the postseason, Wilson's biggest contribution might have been a huge (and clean) hit that knocked New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky out of the playoffs—something which ended up being good for the success of the Capitals but bad for Visnovsky.

The Bad: Wilson's penalty differential (his primary source of tangible value to the team) dropped as the season went along—he took more and drew fewer. He was also fined for embellishment.

Wilson, for the second straight season, shot around five percent—bottom-20 last season for forwards who took at least 70 shots. While that may partly be bad luck—Wilson has only 142 regular-season shots in his career, hardly a large sample—a glance at shot locations shows lots of shots from the walls and not many from the slot. For all his improvement, Wilson still wasn't all that productive.

In the playoffs, Wilson had just a single assist and seven shots on goal. With him on the ice, the Capitals only got about 44% of the shots and scoring chances—one of the lowest rates on the team.

The Video:

The Comic:

BS Bottomtop

The Vote: Rate Wilson below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

The Discussion: With a year left on his entry-level deal, how much of a commitment should the team make to Wilson moving forward? What role can he realistically occupy for the team next year and into the future? How much offensive upside does he truly have? Does he need to play with skill to unlock that upside? Can he be more than a passenger on a scoring line at this point in time? To what extent does Wilson need to rein his the physical side of his game? What would it take for you to give him a "10" next year?

Wilson
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