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Caps project Wilson to be third-line wing this season


Caps project Wilson to be third-line wing this season

Tom Wilson has made a name for himself over the past few seasons as someone who is never afraid to drop the gloves for the Caps. The problem is, that's not all the team wants him to be known for.

When teams draft a player in the first round, 16th overall, it's not with the goal that the player can develop into a fourth-line enforcer. Yet, that has been his role in the majority of his first two NHL seasons.

Now, Wilson is going to get a chance to show the team what he can do.

"I think we project him now third line right wing with possibilities of moving up certain games," general manager Brian MacLellan said. "I think he can handle it. . . . [W]e're going to work with him and be patient with him and give him some chance to show what he can do."

With the addition of T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams, there was not much room for Wilson in the top six, but a move to the third line shows the team's trust in a player who some have already written off as nothing more than a thug on the ice.

"You forget how young he is," said head coach Barry Trotz. "He's still a pretty young player. I need to put him in situations where he can continue to grow. That's what I tried to do last year."

This is a big season for Wilson not just because it is the final year of his entry-level deal, but because he is coming off a healthy offseason. Wilson suffered a fractured fibula in the summer of 2014 which greatly hampered his conditioning throughout the entire 2014-15 season.

"I think that really set him back last year, not being able to train with the ankle and then coming into camp not being 100 percent," said MacLellan. "It's hard to catch up."

"You could see it in his game, he was chasing it all year I think," Trotz said. "Where he is, he just moves way better. You can tell right now.

"Last year he looked like the one foot was a little stiff and he didn't get much power out of it. I watch him now, he's got a full knee bend, he's powering through things, he's skating."

Now Wilson is a little older, a little wiser and a lot healthier. That means the pressure is on for him to show he can still be the player the Caps thought he could be when they drafted him in the first round in 2012.

"I've talked to him and said he's got to move up the ladder and he's got to play at least in the third line and his minutes should increase with penalty killing," Trotz said. "I think he's ready for that step."

Check here for more coverage from Caps media day.

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately


Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately

The Caps signed University of North Dakota forward Shane Gersich, a fifth round selection in 2014 and one of the organization’s top prospects, on Friday morning, the team announced.

Gersich, a left shot who is listed at 5-11, 175-pounds, has already joined the team in Montreal, where the Caps play the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night.

His contract, which begins this season, carries an average annual value of $925,000.

It’s unclear when Gersich will make his NHL debut, but it could happen at some point in the Caps’ final eight games before the playoffs.


NBC Sports Washington has been told that the primary objective for Gersich in the coming weeks is to get his first taste of the NHL by observing—and practicing alongside—his new teammates in Washington. If the opportunity to get him into the lineup presents itself, then it’s possible he’ll suit up.

The 21-year-old just completed his third season at UND. Here are Gersich’s numbers from junior and college, courtesy of


At UND, the smooth-skating and skilled Gersich also produced this memorable goal vs. Denver:

Gersich has been assigned jersey No. 63 in Washington, according to the Caps’ website.

The addition of Gersich and subsequent subtraction of Travis Boyd, who was reassigned to Hershey on Friday morning, leaves the Caps with 14 forwards on the roster.

“I think he did a great job at rookie camp,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said of Gersich in July. “He was one of our best players, if not the best player, at camp. Really happy about the way he’s progressed and where we picked him. I think Ross Mahoney did a great job with that pick.”