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Wilson ‘means too much’ to Caps, not allowed to play at World Juniors

Dec 2, 2013, 1:34 PM EDT

tomwilsongetty Getty Images

Tom Wilson was invited, but he won’t be representing Team Canada at the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships.

On Monday, Washington GM George McPhee said his club will not allow its prized rookie to take leave for the Worlds, citing Wilson’s contributions to the Caps.

“He means too much to our team,” McPhee said, as per the Washington Post. “It’s best for his development to stay with the Capitals.”

Wilson, 19, was Washington’s first-round pick (16th overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He made his big-league debut during last year’s playoffs — appearing in three games — and made the Caps out of training camp this year.

He’s been playing in mostly a bottom-six checking role for Washington, but has been a constant contributor. Wilson has appeared in all 27 games, scoring four points while averaging 7:10 TOI per game.

Wilson has never played for Canada at the World Juniors, but does have international experience from winning a gold medal with Team Ontario at the 2011 World U-17 Hockey Challenge,

  1. valoisvipers - Dec 2, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    GMGM should look at the big picture and let the kid go to his once in a life time opportunity and play for his country as a junior. Does anyone really believe the Caps fate depends on Wilson not missing a couple weeks?

    • bmoreredfury311 - Dec 2, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      I hate to say it, but GMGM is in the right on this one. Look i don’t know how may Caps games you actually watch, but Tommy has great chemistry with those guys. He is learning a lot right now in D.C. Believe me; this team has a lot to learn, and its better to learn as a team. Wilson will be playing in the Olympics soon enough and he’ll get his international experience.

      I don’t mind it but, hey wtf do i know. I’m not a GM of a NHL franchise.

  2. operwapitsai - Dec 2, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Wilson means everything, and Forsberg essentially meant nothing? All the luck in the world to Forsberg, but heres to hoping GMGM was right about him and he doesnt become a superstar

    • ibieiniid - Dec 2, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      I was thinking of saying the same, but I googled for McPhee talking about Forsberg’s NHL potential, couldn’t find any of that. Even when they drafted him, he said:
      “That’s why it’s probably best to put him in the American League, take a look and see where he is,” McPhee said, “Because that would be a big step up for him.”

      Same article, his thoughts on Wilson:
      “He’s a real handful to play against,” McPhee said. “He’s going to be a fun player to watch. He’s a real competitive kid, real physical. He’s really improved. He’s done a lot of penalty killing this year, he’s on the power play and what’s going to make him a real good player is the way he works.”

      at least you can say they’ve been consistent in liking Wilson more.

      ref: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capitals-insider/wp/2013/03/30/george-mcphee-on-caps-prospects-kuznetsov-forsberg-and-wilson/

      • ibieiniid - Dec 2, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        actually, those quotes tell us nothing. Forsberg was traded like a week or two later. I was thinking that was a post-draft interview.

  3. AppealToReason - Dec 2, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    How the heck does a 19yr old kid playing on the 4th line “mean too much” to your team?

    He probably just doesn’t want to look like he might have made a mistake keeping the kid on the roster.

    • wethog66 - Dec 2, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      Read this bit again from GMGM:

      “It’s best for his development to stay with the Capitals.”

      Understand now?

      • AppealToReason - Dec 2, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        No, because its stupid to think a 19yr old develops better playing 2.5 minutes a period when you could have him playing 20+ a game against good competition his age where he can actually make plays instead of just focusing on not making a mistake so he can get more than 10 shifts a game.

      • wethog66 - Dec 2, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        The reason Wilson is not playing for the Canada Junior team is the same reason why he wasn’t sent back to his OHL team. Because he is a man playing amongst boys. So yes Wilson playing 2.5 min a period is better for his development than playing against kids his own age where he dominates just about anybody he plays against. Bad habits are easily developed playing regularly against inferior competition.

      • dcfan4life - Dec 2, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        The world juniors tends to field virtually no one at the NHL level, and some AHL talent but not much. Keeping a 19 year old talent playing at top level for a good team is definitely better for him. Humbling to not be a top player for your team knowing eventually you could be. Going to the juniors and succeeding isnt good. Going to the juniors and failing is even worse. So letting him go is not the right option and GMGM is being smart here.

      • jpelle82 - Dec 2, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        man among boys…funny. you would think some of that “dominance” would translate to the nhl somewhere…especially since his counterparts who are so inferior according to your assertions have made significant impacts for their teams so far this year. i mean…lets just look at the guy drafted right after wilson…he has 21 points in the nhl this year including 13 goals….compared to tom’s 4 points. he’s better off in juniors gaining confidence than wasting away with 7 mins a game in washington…not developing at all, especially considering the state of the cap’s locker room at the moment. the “reason” he’s not playing for any junior team is because mcphee wont let him ….not because he’s too good…geez.

      • wethog66 - Dec 2, 2013 at 3:48 PM

        I was speaking of Wilson’s physical dominance. The fact the kid is huge and most Juniors and OHL players aren’t.

        And the unnamed player you brought up, the one with 21 points in the NHL this season, isn’t in the OHL this season right? So one less player with NHL skills for Wilson to face in the OHL. So again, Wilson in the NHL is the right thing for his development.

      • jpelle82 - Dec 2, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        no he played world juniors for czech republic and would probably be again if he wasnt having so much success in the big leagues. thats what we’re talking about, the world championships, did you read the article? international teams intend on putting their best team on the ice every year, you think he wouldnt face anyone in the U20 worlds that could compete with him physically? have you seen a tournament before? there were guys as big and bigger in canada’s summer camp. look at the us’s invites for their summer camp…wilson is big but he’s not zdeno chara big and not an aberration by any means. hertl is the guy i mentioned and is only 10 lbs lighter than wilson too by the way.

  4. ntvd7 - Dec 2, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    For fighting sake, the kid stays :)

    • wethog66 - Dec 2, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      Correct on a number of levels, with fighting being only a part. Wilson brings something that the Captials sorely need, physicality. A physical presence that other teams will respect more and more as the Kid gets experience. Lucic type physicality and, hopefully, intimidation.

      Wilson learning to pound (not necessarily fight) grown men is better than Wilson running off with the Juniors and pounding kids.

      • jpelle82 - Dec 2, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        i really hope the caps didnt draft wilson in the first round with the intention of him just pounding guys for 7 mins a game. what a waste if so. he should be playing more minutes in the minors and developing some of the finer points of his game so that he can be effective in the coming years. he’s using up a year of his contract right now for what? to learn how to hit bigger guys? come on now. the smart move would have been to let him develop elsewhere. the reality of it is that the gm in washington has put himself in the position where he’s forced to use the kid because he has no other viable options and he traded the better player away.

      • wethog66 - Dec 2, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        The only place he can develop besides the NHL is the OHL, and it has been made clear by GMGM that Wilson would develop very little at the OHL level. AHL level would be different, but that is not an option.

        And I could very well be wrong, but I think GMGM took Wilson in the 1st because he feels Wilson has the potential to be a Lucic type player. Physical/Intimidating player with some offensive skill. At least I hope that is GMGM’s grand plan for Wilson. The Caps desperately need some thump with skill.

      • jpelle82 - Dec 2, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        we’ll see where wilson’s at 3 years from now i guess and have a chuckle about it either way, hopefully he breaks through and gets some minutes and some more opportunity. check this article out, a few weeks old but still worth the read…i tend to agree with the writer’s sentiment…if he’s good enough to use a year of the contract, he should be good enough to get the minutes and opportunity.
        http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2013/11/05/tom-wilsons-future-is-not-on-the-fourth-line/

  5. hockey412 - Dec 2, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Caps are second in the division, but only 5 points from SIXTH place. If the Caps miss the playoffs this year by a few points and struggle, for WHATEVER reason, with him out of the line-up, fans will call for McPHee’s head. Lots you can read into it, also…maybe he’d rather stay and help the Caps…maybe McPhee laughs at the notion that this kid is a “junior”…but if the notion is that he’d be better with more playing time, then why support him at the NHL level at all?

    One thing is for certain – another trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs would definitely be good for his development. Hopefully for more than 3 games this year.

    • wethog66 - Dec 2, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Not sure Wilson is at the point where his absence would negatively affect the Caps in the standings, but, hopefully, by the end of a full season in the NHL the kid will be able to contribute meaningful minutes in the playoffs where players like Wilson are very valuable.

      • hockey412 - Dec 2, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        Me neither – it’s more about the perception than reality (that’s why I said “for whatever reason”).

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