What’s there to say about Tom Wilson that has not already been said about Recep Tayyip Erdoğan?
|18.6||time on ice per game|
|50.1||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage|
|49.0||5-on-5 expected goal percentage|
|54.3||5-on-5 goal percentage|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows lots of information for the player over the season. A short description of each chart:
About this visualization: At three times during the season, RMNB shared an open survey with fans, asking the following question for each player:
On a scale from 1 to 5, how HAPPY are you to have this player on the team?
1 means VERY UNHAPPY TO HAVE THEM ON THE TEAM
2 means UNHAPPY
3 means NEITHER HAPPY NOR UNHAPPY
4 means HAPPY
5 means VERY HAPPY TO HAVE THEM ON THE TEAM
The numbers above show the average score for the player in each survey period.
Before the season began, I said I’d track Tom Wilson’s drama quotient closely, so here are those results:
There was one play that drew criticism — this heavy hit on Boston’s Anton Blidh — but that criticism seemed restricted to the terminally online crowd.
It’d be inelegant for me to belabor the point any further, and that’s sorta my whole thing, so of course I will. Tom Wilson did what you asked, nay, what you demanded. Your outrage was heard and internalized. He moderated his game, and now he awaits your acknowledgement and gratitude.
Ah, yes, there is none coming.
Quick interlude to make this all about me. You goblins have made me insecure every time I write about Tom Wilson. I’ve at times been an emphatic critic of his violence, and I’ve also celebrated his successes, and I’ve been considered the worst kind of villain for both. I think I’m neither. I’m a fan of Tom Wilson who didn’t like it when his sole role was fighting, thought he had genuine skill at both grinding and offense, thought he needed to play smarter (rather than just say he would), but also thought he was at times made a target for spurious reasons. So please either consider me a person with complicated thoughts or a hypocrite, but please neither a fanboy nor a hater.
Back to hockey, I want to talk about role. I don’t think Tom Wilson is the top-line off-wing for Alex Ovechkin we used to think he was. Starting from the notion that Ovechkin-Kuznetsov need a neutral-zone driver of play from the right wing, Wilson ain’t it. HockeyViz concludes that in 2021-22 Wilson depressed offense by about 5.5 percentage points compared to league average. (His solid defensive suppression more than offset it though.)
Here again are the various right wings with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov and their combined on-ice shot-attempt percentages. Fifty percent is even, and 60 percent would be awesome.
Wilson got the most ice time of any RW, but Washington got outshot in that time. (Of course they were in the black in goals, but that’s just how Ovi and Kuzy do.)
All I mean by this is that the Capitals should explore different options for that top line, which is kind of a moot point as Wilson will be out for multiple months following his ACL surgery, required following the “freak thing” in Game One with MacKenzie Weegar.
I don’t expect Wilson back until December, which opens up a lot of cap space for a couple months (though the saved cap space does not accrue daily, based on a CBA rule that I definitely understand and definitely am not quickly glossing over to pretend I understand it). I’ve no idea what the Capitals will do until Wilson’s back, but I’m eager to see him back.
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Let’s place bets on Wilson’s return date. I’ve got December 5. When he’s back, where do you imagine him playing?
Read more: Japers Rink
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