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A deal with restricted free agent Tom Wilson has yet been done, but the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals very much plan on re-signing the top-line winger, according to general manager Brain MacLellan.
“It’s a big priority,” MacLellan told reporters on Tuesday per Tarik El-Bashir of NBC Sports Washington. “Tom’s a big part of our team, a big part of what we got going and our playoff success. So, he’s number one right now. I would like [a] long-term [deal], but we’ll see what his representatives want to do. I’d prefer to keep him around as long as we can.”
Wilson collected a career-high 35 points with 14 goals and 21 assists playing alongside stars Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov in 2017-18.
Wilson is the lone top free agent for the Capitals. Already the team has re-signed top defensemen John Carlson (8-years, $64 million) and Michal Kempny (4 years, $10 million) to long-term deals. They also agreed on a one-year deal with team fan favorite Devante Smith-Pelly.
The mission has been to keep together as much of the roster that claimed a Stanley Cup championship last month as possible. The team introduced former Capitals assistant Todd Reirden as their new head coach to replace Barry Trotz, who resigned and later became head coach of the New York Islanders. Continuity is the key for Washington on all levels as they attempt to defend their Stanley Cup.
The Capitals have an option of working out a bridge deal with Wilson, but MacLellan appears set on working out something more long-term.