Every NHL team 'wishes they had Tom Wilson'

Chris Lingebach
March 27, 2019 - 9:14 pm
Every NHL team 'wishes they had Tom Wilson'

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Tom Wilson may be reviled around NHL, but the 30 teams that don't have him on their roster probably wish they did, says NBC Sports hockey analyst Alan May.

"The league has changed a lot," May told The Sports Junkies on The Morning Skate, presented by D.C. Lottery. "He's adapted year after year, as to what he needs to do and how he needs to play, and he's getting a lot of applause from around the National Hockey League for adjusting to the game."

"Because we've seen other players that were physical," he said. "Their careers are faltered. They won't be in the league. They'll get bought out if they have contracts left. And Tom's one of those unique individuals that, everyone wishes they had Tom Wilson. As much people say they don't like him and they hate him, every team in the league wants a Tom Wilson."

Wilson, in a suspension-shortened 2018-19 season, has managed to score a career-best 39 points, on 22 goals and 17 assists, maintaining all the while the physical threat he imposes every time he's on the ice.

The Capitals drew plenty of eyebrows around the league last summer when they agreed to pay Wilson $31 million over the next six years. May was asked if it looks now like they may have gotten a bargain.

"No, they're getting exactly what they paid for," he said. "Brian MacLellan definitely believed that Tom Wilson could be better offensively and could put up the numbers. We all knew that he was fast and physical and intimidating out there, and I think is now -- all these years later after drafting him in the first round -- it's all just kind of came together."

"I think the Caps – everyone said it was an overpay last summer, and right now it looks like it's perfect," said May. "It's in line. He's not gonna be a 50-goal scorer; I doubt that he'll ever be a 40-goal scorer.

"He may get into the 30s once or twice. It's really hard to score goals in the league, especially now that you have 10 coaches on the bench, and two goaltending coaches and goalies that wear equipment that's way too big for them. They're getting exactly what they want out of Tom Wilson. Let's put it that way."

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