Imagine Tom Wilson on Auston Matthews’ right wing?
Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
By Nick Alberga3 months ago
If the Washington Capitals make Tom Wilson available for trade this summer, Brad Treliving and the Maple Leafs should take a long and hard look.
In theory, the 29-year-old power forward, who’s one year away from unrestricted free agency, is exactly what Toronto needs. He’s big, he’s tough, and most importantly, he can actually play hockey rather effectively. Rest assured, there’s only one Tom Wilson in the NHL for a reason. Over the weekend, multiple reports suggested some teams – namely Los Angeles – are already starting to sniff around on the situation. Interesting.
Undoubtedly, the 2022-23 campaign will be one Wilson wants to forget entirely. For starters, he’s just a year removed from heavy duty knee surgery to reconstruct a torn ACL in last year’s postseason. Furthermore, that procedure limited him to just 33 games this season for the retooling Capitals. That said, playing primarily in the top-six, the Toronto native still managed to tally 13 goals and 22 points. Prorated over 82 games, that’s a 32-goal, 55-point pace.
If healthy, there’s no question a player like Wilson would offer something fresh and unique to this Maple Leafs roster. Most importantly, his presence alone would make opponents think twice about trying to push around the big boys. In recent years, he’s meshed incredibly well with the likes of Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin on Washington’s top-line. Seriously, imagine Tom Wilson flanking Auston Matthews’ wing?
And for those trying to compare Wilson to say Zach Hyman and Michael Bunting, it’s not even close. In addition to what he could potentially bring on the ice, Wilson has climbed the summit. In 2018, he played a monumental role in Washington’s storybook run to its first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
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Obviously, a move of this magnitude would come with so many moving pieces. Aside from the health concerns, the cost of acquiring Wilson would likely be substantial, too. That said, when he’s on top of his game, there’s no one quite like him. And that’s why if made available, there will likely be a laundry list of teams interested in acquiring him.
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