Many (including me) thought that the Washington Capitals might have reached a tad bit when they drafted forward Tom Wilson with the 16th pick of the 2012 NHL draft.
That being said, I can easily understand why they would draft him. Wilson represents something that the Capitals have lacked in recent years and desperately need: intimidation.
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’4″/194 pounds. It’s going to be really interesting to see how he grows into his body. I expect him to wind up around 220-230 pounds. How he grows into his body is going to determine a lot about his future.
PLAYING CAREER: Tom Wilson currently plays for the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL. Last season, he had 27 points in 49 games played. He also amassed 141 penalty minutes, which is impressive in its own right. He played especially well in the playoffs with 13 points in 13 games (along with 39 penalty minutes). He participated in the 2012 CHL Top Prospects Game.
PLAYING STYLE: Wilson is an extremely physical player. He loves to hit people hard and knows how to use his size to his advantage. He does tend to find himself in the penalty box quite a bit, but he’s an extremely intimidating player. For a guy his size, he is an impressive skater and and even more impressive puck handler. I personally saw him deke several guys during Caps Development Camp, and I can honestly say I rarely see guys his size who are able to do that. He is also very strong on defense.
STRENGTHS: Clearly Wilson has size going for him. More importantly, he knows how to use it. At the very least, his size and athleticism will make him a solid 3rd line or 4th line wing. He has quickly been developing an all-around game, and made drastic improvements from his 2010-2011 season to his 2011-2012 season.
WEAKNESSES: With Wilson, you don’t really know what you’re getting because of his upside. He wasn’t that productive in 2011-2012 despite playing with other top prospects. There’s also his penalty minutes.
PLAYER WHO HE REMINDS ME OF: Milan Lucic. Very physical forward who can also contribute on offense and defense. The kind of player who you’d love to have on your team, but hate him if he isn’t. Guys like him, while they are usually among the most hated players, are undeniably important to their team. I’m sure the Capitals will love him because he will stand up for his teammates no matter what.
ETA: 2014-2015. I think he’ll need at least a year of seasoning in Hershey. His contract situation with the OHL still has to be determined as well.