The NHL announced on Tuesday that the Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson’s 20-game suspension for his preseason illegal head check on St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist has been reduced to 14 games an arbitrator. Wilson is eligible to return to play in the Capitals’ game against the Minnesota Wild Tuesday.
Wilson has missed 16 games, and with the league’s decision will be eligible to regain two games checks. Wilson faced the a potential loss of over $1.2 million of his salary during the total 20-game suspension.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 13, 2018
Sundqvist missed the first eight games of the regular season with an upper-body injury stemming from the hit.
Wilson is certain to return with watching eyes on his aggressive playing style. He has a standing history with the league for questionable and violent hits. He has been suspended four times since September 2017, including a three-game ban during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run last season in which he broke the jaw of Pittsburgh Penguins’ Zach Aston-Reese.
Despite the controversy behind his hits, Wilson is coming off one a career season in 2017-18. Playing on the Capitals’ top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, Wilson had a career-high 14 goals, 21 assists, and 35 points to go along with a plus-10 rating in 78 games. He also raised his shot percentage to a career-best 11.4 percent and average time on ice to 15:59.
In the postseason, he continued his strong play with five goals and 10 assists and a plus-11 rating in 21 games as the Capitals claimed their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.
Wilson’s improved offensive repertoire, while a byproduct of playing alongside Ovechkin and Kuznetsov, showed he was more than a bruising enforcer. However, his list of questionable hits overshadow his offensive production.