Washington Capitals prospect Tom Wilson got a taste of the big time when he played three playoff games in 2013 – you may recall his broken skate incident – but it seems like the large forward is still something of a project.
Many believe that the team drafted him 16th overall in 2012 because of his 6-foot-4 frame, but even so, head coach Adam Oates expressed concern to the Washington Post that Wilson would rely on his size alone.
“Where he plays he’s such a big man, the one thing that we don’t want is for him to get in lazy habits because he dwarfs everybody over there [in the OHL],” Oates said. “I mentioned Troy Brouwer’s stick – he’s a big man like him and he’s figured it out — so just experiment with it and try to maximize a little bit more.”
While the 19-year-old’s size should still be an asset, there are plenty of big defensemen in the NHL, so Oates believes that Wilson needs to do more than bull his way through competition – whether he joins the big club full-time next season or not.
“It’s very difficult. Not trying to compare but a little bit like Eric Lindros, he was so much bigger than everybody in junior he was just cruising around out there,” Oates said. “Tom has that capability, although everyone’s getting a little bigger. We want to make sure he’s on track and any little habit that can help will be great.”
Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.
Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.
Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.
Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.
“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.
“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”
The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.
He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.
When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.
And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.
“Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.
Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.
But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?
Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”