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NHL Washington Capitals

Tom Wilson Is Crucial To Washington Capitals 2013-14 Success

Tom Wilson

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When the Washington Capitals traded Matthieu Perreault to the Anaheim Ducks, it became all but a formality that Tom Wilson will be not only on the Capitals opening day roster but a mainstay for the 2013-14 season.  This is surely a very exciting for the 19 year old Wilson, but it should be even more exciting for the Capitals as they are getting a player to help their on ice product both during the regular season and in the playoffs.

Wilson is a brute of a forward 6-foot-4 195 pounds, and he has shown both during his brief stint with the Capitals during the 2012-13 playoffs and this preseason a willingness to throw his body around.  During the preseason Wilson participated in two fights and did more than hold his own in each. More than just getting into fights though is the fact that Wilson has been throwing his body around in the corners and in front of the net, in turn making life miserable for opposing defenses.

In addition to being a menace on the defensive side of the puck, Wilson scored three goals and put ten shots on goal during the preseason. While these stats will have no meaning in the regular season they do begin tell a story about his style of play.  Wilson is a power forward in the complete sense of the word, mixing physical play in all three facets of the ice with the ability to chip in timely goals.

While it is unlikely that this skill set will turn Wilson into a first line player, or maybe even a second liner, during the 2013-14 season the facts are that the Capitals do not need another skill player. During the last six postseasons the Capitals have been knocked out of the NHL playoffs prior to the Conference Semifinal round in no small part due to the fact that they have been extremely reliant on skill players.  This reliance on skill players has left the Capitals being physically intimidated at times and longing for a bruiser that is willing to do the dirty work that tires out opposing defensemen, draws penalties, and scores goals.

Tom Wilson is exactly the type of player that is willing to go into the corners, fight in front of the net, lay out nasty hits, and even drop the gloves that would keep teams from wanting to get into physical confrontations with the Capitals.  He may not be racking up 60 points during the 2013-14 season, but it can be expected that come playoff time he will be the difference maker physically that the organization has been looking for the last six years.

Tyler Leli is a Washington Capitals writer for Rant Sports.  Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or join his network on Google.