Tom Wilson is coming back from ACL surgery, and he’s still got a ways left to go.
|17.6||time on ice per game|
|47.6||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage|
|43.4||5-on-5 expected goal percentage|
|-8||5-on-5 goal differential|
For on-ice percentages, 50 percent means even: both teams possess the puck evenly. Higher is better, lower is worse.
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows how the player has impacted play when on the ice. At the top of the image is the team’s offense (even strength at left, power play at right) and at bottom is the team’s defense (with penalty kill at bottom right). In each case, red/orange blobs mean teams shoot for more from that location on the ice, and blue/purple means less. In general, a good player should have red/orange blobs near the opponent’s net at top, and blue/purple bobs near their own team’s net at bottom. The distributions in middle show how the player compares to league average at individual finishing, setting up teammates to score, and taking and drawing penalties.
About this player card: This image from Evolving Hockey shows an overview of the player across different parts of their game. At top right are the players percentile rank (1 is worst; 100 best), overall and on offense and defense separately. Higher numbers are in blue. Below are the player’s contributions in different compartments of the game using the goals-above-replacement or GAR metric. Higher numbers (again in blue) mean the player adds value compared to an average AHL call-up player.
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.
There isn’t much of a season here to review. Wilson didn’t play until January, which coincided with the team’s sharp downturn. He scored a lot of goals in just 33 games, but his individual goal rate during five-on-five play was the same as Anthony Mantha’s. He got back on the ice after major surgery, but the Caps got outscored 28 to 20 when he was on the ice – the only player to fare worse was Nicklas Backstrom, who was recovering from a major surgery himself. (Backstrom and Wilson skated apart about 80 percent of the time, which spread the misery around the Caps lineup.)
So I’m putting a huge asterisk on the season. I thought he was a fantastic player in 2021-22, and I understand that ACL surgeries can take a long time to fully recover from, so I’m willing to discount what we saw in 2022-23, which I did not like. Wilson was maybe the biggest victim of the Bad Year Tax, which is in a way a hopeful thing to say about where he might be going next. I’d like to see him back in fighting trim this fall and in his ideal spot of the second-line wing (not opposite Ovechkin). I think he can get back there.
Did you learn anything from Tom Wilson’s 33 games – other than, how much last season sucked?
This article would not be possible without HockeyViz, Evolving Hockey, Natural Stat Trick, and All Three Zones. Please consider joining us in supporting them. For people interested in learning more from those resources, we recently published video walkthroughs.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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