"If we don't have Tom Wilson I don't think we're winning the Stanley Cup."
That's a very bold statement to make when your team carries a roster with the likes of Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom. But that's exactly what Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in the "Tom Wilson: Marked Man" mini doc available for free exclusively on the brand new MyTeams app.
There's no denying that Wilson is a polarizing figure in the NHL. Ask any player or fan on an opposing team and they likely won't have many kind words in regards to the right winger. But when Wilson is on your side your opinion will differ.
Often labeled for his willingness to drop the gloves and his several suspensions, Wilson has evolved not just as the Caps' enforcer but a vital piece of their success.
During the 2017-18 season, Wilson had a career-high 14 goals, 31 assists and 35 points, and finished the Stanley Cup Playoffs even more impressively with five goals and ten assist in 21 games. Against the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals, Wilson scored in Game 1 and Game 4.
“I think Willie as a player probably doesn’t get enough credit for what he brings,” Lars Eller said after Wednesday's loss to the Penguins. “Willie can do a lot of things. His game has definitely grown a lot this season. It already grew a lot I think last season, and in the playoffs, but he’s taken another step this year and it’s good for our team.”
So good that MacLellan is willing to put the franchise's only Stanley Cup on it. Drafted by Washington with the No. 16 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, the 24-year-old has slowly but surely taken his game to the next level, and maybe even more importantly both Wilson and the Caps proved they are committed to long-term success after signing a six-year extension.
At the pace Wilson's career is moving, another one of those Stanley Cup's he helped the team bring home to D.C. is within reach.
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