Todd Reirden: Tom Wilson’s absence affecting more than the Caps’ top line

Josh Luckenbaugh
October 17, 2018 - 7:41 am

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals certainly miss the physical presence of Tom Wilson on their top line, but according to Todd Reirden, the suspended forward's absence also affects the rest of the rotation. 

"In terms of his overall physical presence, I think that the game is getting more and more away from that, and it's more important that we've lost a depth forward on our team, for sure," Reirden told The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "In terms of having to move guys that were slotted down a few lines up." 

"That's hurt our bottom six forward scoring a little bit, not having Tom in there. I think that's been the biggest void for us."

Wilson is currently slated to miss the first 20 games of the season for a preseason hit on Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist, but is in the process of appealing the suspension to possibly have it reduced. 

Reirden also touched on how Wilson's presence on the ice affects the game in multiple ways. 

"Tom Wilson's one of a kind. Not many players like him in the league at all," Reirden said. "You saw the type of numbers he was able to generate in the playoffs playing on that top line, and I think his game came to another level. Not just the physical element, but his ability to convert and make plays offensively as well."

"With his style of play, he clears some space for Kuznetsov and Ovechkin, and they were able to create, and they were a huge part of us winning the Stanley Cup last year." 

But despite not having Wilson's unique set of skills in the lineup, Reirden explained how the Caps will try to create a similar, if not identical, type of "havoc" for opposing teams. 

"Physically, we have some guys that can probably play any type of game, if you want to talk about T.J. Oshie or Smith-Pelly or guys like this that can be physical up front when they need to be, and Ovi at times," Reirden told The Junkies. "Different ways you can be physical, and some of its you can affect the other team's defense with speed, and we try to do that with Burakovsky and Vrana."

"Doing different things to help create havoc, so to speak, and no one's gonna arrive with the presence Tom Wilson arrives with, but that's what makes him special. And we'll happily hope that he gets his suspension reduced here in the next few days."

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