Peter Laviolette not surprised Tom Wilson is having career year at 27

Laviolette not surprised Wilson is having career year at 27 originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

One of the Capitals’ few bright spots in their 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night was forward Tom Wilson, who scored a goal and assisted on another to bring his season point total to 44. That tied his career-high with 17 games left on Washington’s schedule.

Wilson, who made his first All-Star team this season, ranks third on the Capitals in goals (19) and fourth in assists (25) while giving head coach Peter Laviolette a consistent presence on a second line that’s seen a revolving door of forwards due to injuries this season.

“I think everybody saw the offensive upside,” Laviolette said Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies. “He had good years before I got here, but now you see him [scoring] even more. I think, oftentimes when a player is younger — and he was in a different role — I think when he first came in it was more of a physicality, he had skill and it was more the physicality element that he brought to the team. He just keeps working on his game.”

For each of the last five years, Wilson has tallied at least 30 points including back-to-back seasons with at least 40 between 2018-19 and 2019-20. After being limited to a career-low 47 games in 2020-21, he’s put together a career year in his age-27 season while still providing a physical presence. Only Garnet Hathaway (200) has more hits than Wilson’s 186 for the Capitals.

“You’d like to hope and think that a player that puts up a certain amount of points at age 24, 25, you hope that there’s more that there’s more at 27 or 29 as they’re entering the prime of their career,” Laviolette said. “So I don’t think it surprises completely but certainly an important player for us with regard to the element of toughness that he does bring and the…ability to create offense and to score has made him a really complete player.”

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