Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan is exasperated at the media and rightly so.
Tom Wilson, who is an unrestricted free agent next summer, wants to re-sign longterm with the Capitals and the Capitals want Wilson to finish his career in their organization. It seems like a pretty open and shut situation, but rumors that Wilson could be on the move keep on popping up.
Thursday, after the Capitals made six picks total at the 2023 NHL Draft, MacLellan once again reiterated that Tom Wilson is not available. Like at all.
The conversation begins at the 3:24 mark of the press conference as MacLellan has a back and forth with The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir.
General manager Brian MacLellan discusses the selections of Ryan Leonard, Andrew Cristall and Cameron Allen, as well as touches on the start of free agency this weekend following the conclusion of the 2023 #NHLDraft today in Nashville. #CapsDraft | @MedStarHealth pic.twitter.com/6O7wKT0Y8a
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) June 29, 2023
Here’s their chat transcribed:
Tarik El-Bashir: Just to be clear you’re not trying to trade Tom Wilson.
Brian MacLellan: No.
Tarik El-Bashir: Where are those rumors coming from?
Brian MacLellan: You guys. [Looks directly at Tarik before smiling and laughing.]
Tarik El-Bashir: I’m just hanging out.
Brian MacLellan: I don’t know. People make up stuff and throw it out there. We haven’t had one discussion about it so whoever’s doing that, I don’t know. We’re constantly telling people we’re not.
MacLellan was also asked directly by another reporter if the Capitals wanted to extend Wilson when he becomes eligible on July 1. MacLellan said simply, “Yes.”
There have been two rumors in particular that have gained steam over the last month. A reputable Los Angeles Kings podcast shared a report that the Kings had kicked the tires on acquiring Wilson while former Ottawa Senators defenseman Jason York said on a different podcast that “the Capitals are interested in making a deal with the Senators” that included the Capitals’ top-line right wing.
Wilson, 29, is about to enter the final year of his six-year contract. He underwent surgery on a torn ACL last summer and came back for 33 games during the 2022-23 regular season and recorded 22 points (13g, 9a).
Previously, the two sides expressed how they wanted to work out a new contract with each other.
“I’d like Tom to finish up in Washington,” MacLellan said on Breakdown Day. “He’s been a big part of our culture, our group. He’s consistently gotten better throughout the years. We’re going to do everything we can to sign him.
“He was one of our better players down the stretch,” MacLellan continued. “I really liked him and Strome together. I thought they were two players that played consistently well down the stretch when we weren’t as a team playing well.”
Wilson was just as strong with his comments.
“I’m not a guy that’s going to play hardball and say that I don’t want to be here,” Wilson said. “Everyone knows I want to be here. No matter what happens, I want to help this city win games.”
So can we stop it with these rumors now? Please.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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