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2017-18 Rink Wrap: Tom Wilson

From Backstrom to Wilson, we’re taking a look at and grading the 2017-18 season for every player who laced ‘em up for the Stanley Cup Champion Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2018-19. Today, Tom Wilson

2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Regular season


Key Stat: Offensively, Wilson had undoubtedly the best season of his career, scoring 14 goals and assisting on 21 others for 35 points, all career highs.

Interesting Stat: Wilson’s relative CF% was 3.1, also a career-best and sixth among all players with more than 56 games played.

The Good: To any neutral observer, Wilson seems to have finally shed for good his role, whether perceived or real, as little more than a troublemaker. His 200-foot game is as well-rounded as it’s ever been, and both Wilson and the team are working accordingly toward a long-term deal that will keep the 24-year-old Toronto native in D.C. after he opted against salary arbitration.

The Bad: Everyone knows that Wilson’s game is based on playing the role of grit, agitation, or whatever you want to call it. He was sixth in the league with 3.2 hits per game, and his checking ability was doubtless a major factor in the Capitals winning their first Stanley Cup. But for the first time in his career, Wilson started paying the price for those hits. He was suspended for a preseason game back in the fall, then again for the first four games of the regular season after hitting Robert Thomas and Sammy Blais, respectively, in separate preseason games against the St. Louis Blues. In Game 3 of Washington’s second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Wilson ended Zach Aston-Reese’s season with an illegal check to the head that resulted in a broken jaw and a concussion. He missed the remainder of the series with a three-game suspension. Is Wilson a violent, out-of-control goon who plays with no discipline and has no place in the modern game? Of course that’s nonsense. Would he be wise to tweak his style and pick his battles a bit differently? Perhaps, but when you have a player who can swing momentum in your team’s favor by winning a fight as he did in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, you put his skills to good use.

The Video:

The Charts:

Wilson’s Season, Game-by-Game (via HockeyViz, explained here):

via HockeyViz

Wilson and His Linemates (chart by @muneebalamcu):

Wilson’s 5v5 Teammates and Competition (via HockeyViz, explained here):

via HockeyViz

Wilson’s 5v5 Usage (chart by @muneebalamcu):

Wilson’s With-or-Without You (via HockeyViz, explained here):

via HockeyViz

Wilson’s Rolling Shot-Attempt (Corsi) -For Percentage (chart by @muneebalamcu):

Wilson’s Player Traits and Performance (chart by @RK_Stimp, data by @ShutdownLine, Tableau here):

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: Wilson is likely to remain in Washington for some time, and could even be in line to become the team’s captain one day. But what would it take for him to earn a “10” next year?

Other Wilson Season Reviews: Peerless, RMNB


How do you rate Tom Wilson’s 2017-18 season?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    (69 votes)
  • 29%
    (88 votes)
  • 30%
    (92 votes)
  • 13%
    (42 votes)
  • 2%
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
301 votes total Vote Now