The Washington Capitals are focusing on continuity as they attempt to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. The team completed its offseason of keeping the band together, as they reached an agreement with top-line forward Tom Wilson on a six year deal worth $31 million that carries an annual average of $5.17 million.
Wilson, 24, is coming off a breakthrough season in which he had career-highs with 14 goals, 21 assists, and 35 points. He progressed to the Capitals’ top line, playing alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov and captain Alex Ovechkin. While Wilson is known for his controversial and devastating hits, he was a solid threat on offense playing with two all-world forwards. His average time-on-ice increased by over three minutes from the previous season to a career-high 15:59.
During the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run this past spring, Wilson showed both his good and bad sides. He received a three-game suspension in the second round after a brutal hit on Pittsburgh’s Zach Aston-Reese that left him with a broken jaw. However, Wilson bounced back from that, posting five goals and 10 assists for 15 points and a plus-11 rating in 21 postseason games.
#Caps have about $1.1 million left in cap space, according to https://t.co/REs3MIYAAb. But basically the roster is set. The hope is Wilson can make another leap as a scorer. 25 goals possible? Not sure. He’s 24. Had 14 last season
— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) July 28, 2018
The signing shows the Capitals are banking on another leap for Wilson and also completed their mission to bring back the team to defend their Cup. Wilson gives Washington 11 of 12 forward returning from a season ago to go with all top seven defensemen and goalie Braden Holtby.
To be clear, that's 11 of 12 forwards, all seven defensemen and the starting goalie returning from the Stanley Cup winning team. #Caps
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨️🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) July 28, 2018
This offseason the Capitals re-signed John Carlson, Michal Kempny, and Devante Pelly-Smith among others along with Wilson. Washington even brought back Brooks Orpik on a one-year deal after trading him to the Colorado Avalanche along with backup goalie Philipp Grubauer. Colorado bought out Orpik’s previous contract, allowing him to return to Washington as a free agent.
6 more years in DC!! Love this team and love this city. Beyond excited to stay a part of the Capitals family!
— Tom Wilson (@tom_wilso) July 28, 2018
The only key departures is Jay Beagle, who signed with Vancouver, and head coach Barry Trotz, who signed with the New York Islanders after he re-signed from his position. But with the re-signing of Wilson, the Capitals seem poised to make a run at another Cup after claiming the franchise’s first in June.