For the first time after seeing the Rangers in every playoff game for almost 2 calendar years and 17 total games, the Pittsburgh Penguins finally get to play a fresh playoff opponent. So let's dust off this old feature to kill time and preview the Washington Capitals.
Name: Tom Wilson
Weight: 210 lbs
Born: March 29th, 1994 (22 years old)
Drafted: WSH 1st Round 2013, 16th Overall (LOL)
2015-16 stat line: 82 games played, 7 goals, 16 assists, 163 penalty minutes (Really? Come on.)
2014-15 playoff stat line: 13 GP, 1A
2015-16 stats vs Penguins: 5 GP, 1G
2015-16 5v5 Advanced Stats: 46.5 CF%, -5.9% Corsi Relative, 101.5 PDO
Player detail (via The Hockey News Player Page)
2015-16 Washington Capitals player usage, via War on Ice
On a team that was as dominant this season as the Capitals were, Tom Wilson's possession metrics are not good. AT ALL. He's by far the worst in those terms amongst players who skated regular minutes. At least he does get all those penalty minutes.
HERO Chart (via Domenic Galamini):
Analysis: Tom Wilson is the worst first round pick in NHL history. I kid, I kid. I can't help but laugh at how the 2012 Draft produced Filip Forsberg and Tom Wilson for the Capitals and Wilson is the one they decided not to trade. Burt seriously, it's interesting to note how he puts up good metrics in terms of suppressing shots, but contributes nothing at all of value in terms of producing them offensively. Beyond that, and making some good assists, he leaves a lot to be desired in areas of scoring. He is a gigantic pain in the ass though, and against the right team or opponents, that can matter, if cooler heads can prevail.
Most common line mates: Wilson's player usage has had him on the ice with Jay Beagle and Jason Chimera, as well as Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen. As deep and as good as the Capitals are, Tom Wilson being on your 4th line isn't a bad thing at all. He's still on an entry-level deal, so contract value is a non-factor. With an RFA summer coming up, I'm curious to see what kind of deal he gets from the Caps.
Why you should know who he is: Can we circle back to him being a gigantic pain in the ass? He's certainly going to land some monster hits, potentially illegal ones, but the key here for the Penguins is going to be to keep their cool. Let him take the body, and don't take any penalties in retaliation, or if he takes a penalty, don't even it up for them.
How the Pens can stop him: Just let him do his thing. The Pens are built with speed and need to play with it. They're not going to avoid getting hit, but the key is just to not take penalties in response. Tom Wilson is not going to beat the Penguins with his skill.