Barry Trotz laid out his expectations for Tom Wilson very clearly on Sunday: he wants the big winger to hit double digits in goals this season.
“He has that physical element, he’s reliable, he can kill penalties, he can play in late-game situations, he’s developed all that,” Trotz said. “Now, we got to get offense side going.”
“We got to get more production out of Tom Wilson,” the Capitals coach continued.
“We’re going to need some more goals out of him. He’s got to get into that double digits this year. That’s real key.”
In his first four seasons with the Caps, Wilson’s goal production has gone 3, 4, 7 and 7.
Wilson spent the majority of last season on the fourth line before being elevated to the third line in the playoffs, where he scored three times in a span of four games against his hometown Maple Leafs, prompting renewed optimism about his offensive upside.
This season, the former first round draft pick is expected to start somewhere among the Caps’ top-9 forwards.
In Trotz’s mind, it’s time for that optimism to become reality as the team looks to “chip away” at the loss of a couple of 24 goal scorers in Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson.
Trotz doesn’t need Wilson to match the production of Williams or Johansson. But he also doesn’t think that putting up half as many is out of the realm of possibility for the rugged 23-year-old, who is also entering a contract year.
“You look at a guy like [Alex] Chiasson, he had 12 even strength goals [for Calgary] last year,” Trotz said. “And a guy like Jay Beagle, he was able to get double digits. Now we got to get a guy like Tom Wilson into double digits.”
“That’s how you chip away at the loss of a couple of guys,” Trotz added. “Give us or five more goals than you had last year. Another four goals in an 82-game span that doesn’t seem like that much. I think it’s very attainable.”