The Washington Capitals have brought numerous players back but there’s one remaining Capital that needs a contract. Tom Wilson enjoyed a career resurgence on the top line and came through with his best season offensively. Now he just needs a new contract to keep playing with the Caps.
Wilson scored a career-high 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points this past season. In the playoffs, Wilson helped lead the Capitals to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup with five goals and 10 assists for 15 points. Even while serving a three-game suspension in the second round for a controversial hit on Zach Aston-Reese of the Penguins, Wilson showed maturity by positively supporting his teammates as they rallied to slay the dragon.
“It’s a big priority. Tom’s a big part of our team, a big part of what we got going and our playoff success. So, he’s No. 1 right now,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan told the media after Todd Reirden’s press conference last week.
The Capitals have $8,265,705 remaining in projected cap space (via CapFriendly.com). That should be just enough money to work out a deal. The fact that Wilson declined arbitration is a positive sign.
Wilson’s first contract was an entry-level deal for three years worth $3,975,000. Wilson’s most recent deal came in the summer of 2016 which was a two-year, $4 million deal. BMac’s game plan is to give Wilson a long-term extension. “I’d prefer to keep him around for as long as we can,” said MacLellan.
Maybe one reason for the delay in signing a deal may be that Wilson and his girlfriend Taylor Pischke have been on a Euro trip or just the simple fact that his camp and the Capitals just haven’t agreed to any offers.
A short-term deal for Wilson would be a gamble at best as it would leave the Caps open to loosing him down the road. As his role with the team has increased, including more time on the top lines, so have his numbers offensively. Locking him into a long-term deal could be beneficial to both parties and bring a sense of continuity for the future. With the salary cap going nowhere but up, there’s no reason why the Capitals can’t sign Wilson to a long-term deal.