Brian MacLellan says re-signing Tom Wilson is Washington’s ‘No. 1’ priority in the coming days, and that he’d prefer to ink the rugged right wing to a long-term extension.
The Caps’ general manager, speaking at Todd Reirden’s introductory news conference, also said the sides had a conference call set for later Tuesday.
“It’s a big priority,” MacLellan said. “Tom's a big part of our team, a big part of what we got going and our playoff success. So, he’s No. 1 right now.”
The rugged forward posted career-high in points (35), goals (14), assists (21) and penalty minutes (187) while finding a home on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. In the playoffs, Wilson amassed five goals and 10 assists in 21 contests.
Wilson was also suspended three times for questionable hits.
The 24-year-old is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. The deadline to file for arbitration is Thursday 5 p.m. but the sides can continue to negotiate until a ruling is handed down.
Hearings will be hosted in Toronto from July 20-Aug. 4.
As for the type of extension MacLellan would like to work out with Wilson, he said he wants the deal to be of the long-term variety.
“There's a trade-off,” MacLellen said, asked if the team prefers a longer extension or a bridge. “I would like long-term, but we’ll see what his representatives want to do. I'd prefer to keep him around for as long as we can.”
Wilson just played out the final season of a two-year deal that averaged $2 million.
The Caps are $8.2 million under the $79.5 million salary cap ceiling with only Wilson and young defenseman Madison Bowey left to re-sign. MacLellan also said it’s possible the team will bring back veteran D-man Brooks Orpik.
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