Tom Wilson NHL discipline history: Fines, suspensions, other hits

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After generating plenty of debate around the hockey world, Tom Wilson received a $5K fine — not a suspension — following a controversial incident involving Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich.

Judging by the thousands of quote tweets from the Department of Player Safety’s decision, the Tom Wilson debates aren’t going to slow down anytime soon on Tuesday.

For some, it’s a delightful opportunity to argue with people online. Others might have grown tired of such bickering — whether you tend to defend the hard-hitting winger, or whether you think he should be banned from the NHL.

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that he’s just 27 years old. As you can see from this history of Tom Wilson suspensions, fines, and hits that avoided discipline, he’s already shown a knack for stirring up debates. Being that his Capitals and Rangers meet again on Wednesday, we’ll have to see if there are even more entries within this week.

But it already feels like the sort of voluminous epic that could be chronicled in many leather-bound books.

(Rangers – Capitals airs on NBCSN on Wednesday, with pre-game coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. ET. Click here for the livestream link.)

Tom Wilson suspension history

To review, Tom Wilson has been suspended five times by the NHL. Let’s run down those suspensions in chronological order — with a sidebar for his busy run around the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

An especially controversial stretch during (and after) the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs

If you’re charting Tom Wilson controversies, things were picking up in 2017, but reached a new level once that 2017-18 season shifted to the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

During the Capitals’ first-round series vs. the Blue Jackets, Wilson received a charging penalty for hit on Alexander Wennberg. Wennberg wouldn’t return to the game, and Wilson might have avoided supplemental discipline because of … a lack of camera angles?

Even so, Wilson believed that resulting penalty cost the Capitals the game, “I’ve got to be better and maybe pass up on that hit.”

[MORE: Rangers statement criticizes Wilson fine, Parros as player safety head]

Later in the Capitals’ eventual 2018 Stanley Cup run, Wilson avoided a suspension for a hit on Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin. The league reportedly found that “contact with the head was unavoidable on that play.”

Eventually, Wilson did receive a suspension during that postseason.

That said, it wasn’t the last of debatable hits. During Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, Wilson avoided a suspension for what some believed was a late hit on Jonathan Marchessault. In December of the 2018-19 season, Ryan Reaves delivered a check that left Wilson with a concussion.

(Reaves avoided supplemental discipline.)

Closing off that stretch between 2017-18 and the start of 2018-19, Wilson received his largest suspension for this preseason hit on Oskar Sundqvist.

[More on Tom Wilson avoiding suspensions from back in 2018]

Wilson suspended, fined in 2020-21

  • March 6, 2021: Earlier this season, the NHL suspended Wilson seven games for a hit on Brandon Carlo of the Bruins. In that case, Wilson decided not to appeal the suspension.
  • May 4, 2021: On Tuesday, the NHL fined Tom Wilson $5K as a result of that latest controversial incident.

Again, it’s noteworthy that the Department of Player Safety mentioned Pavel Buchnevich, but not other Rangers such as Ryan Strome, and especially Artemi Panarin.

(You can watch footage of that incident in the video above this post’s headline.

Two other fines for Wilson, plus some other times he avoided discipline

In addition to those five suspensions, the NHL also fined Tom Wilson three times. The most recent, of course, was this incident involving Panarin and Buchnevich.

Along with that, Tom Wilson received a fine for kneeing (now-current teammate) Conor Sheary back in 2016. Back in March 2015, the NHL fined Wilson for embellishment/diving.

Beyond fines and suspensions, Tom Wilson delivered hits that many believed should have also resulted in supplemental discipline. When it comes to hits that didn’t result in supplemental discipline, you wade even deeper into debates.

Either way, these are some hard hits. Take this brutal check on Lubomir Visnovsky from April 2015, for example:

Wilson received a charging penalty, while Visnovsky didn’t return to that series. (He’d end up playing nine games in the KHL in 2015-16, and that was it.)

He’s also benefited from match penalties being rescinded. That happened twice in December 2015, as Wilson avoided discipline for hits on Curtis Lazar and Brian Campbell.

If you’re in the mood to argue, you can comb through nine-minute-long videos compiling the hits where Tom Wilson may or may not have “crossed the line.” Many would at least agree that Wilson is one of those players who can blur the line, thus opening up room for such debates.

All things considered, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to change the way he plays. So, for better or worse, it seems like hockey fans will continue to debate Tom Wilson hits for some time.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Sabres agree with Dylan Cozens on 7-year, $49.7M extension

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms with forward Dylan Cozens on a seven-year extension worth $49.7 million.

The team announced the contract. Cozens will count $7.1 million against the salary cap through the 2029-30 season.

Cozens, who turns 22, is the latest core player the Sabres have extended over the past six months. Buffalo signed All-Star forward Tage Thompson for $50 million over seven seasons in August and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to a seven-year, $30 million deal in October.

Rasmus Dahlin, the top pick in 2020 who’s a Norris Trophy candidate and filled in for Thompson at NHL All-Star weekend, figures to be next for a big contract. He’s signed through next season and can begin talking about an extension this summer.

Cozens, who was set to be a restricted free agent, has already set career highs with 17 goals, 26 assists and 43 points – with 30 games left in the season. The seventh pick in 2019, Cozens has 34 goals and 60 assists in 169 regular-season NHL games, all with Buffalo.

The Sabres, led by Dahlin, Thompson, Cozens and 2021 No. 1 pick Owen Power, are contending to make the playoffs. The organization’s 11-year playoff drought dating to 2011 is by far the longest in the league.

Stanley Cup champion Avalanche steadily returning to health

avalanche injuries
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Had his coach been watching, this might have made for an anxious moment: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar catching an edge and falling in the fastest skater contest.

Jared Bednar wasn’t tuned in, though, and had no idea what happened in the skills contest over All-Star weekend. Only that Makar emerged from his crash into the boards just fine.

These days, things are definitely looking up for the Stanley Cup champions on the injury front. Defenseman Bowen Byram returns to the lineup, along with forward Valeri Nichushkin. Defenseman Josh Manson is creeping closer to a return. Same for captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s yet to play this season. Forward Darren Helm is progressing, too.

In spite of all their bumps and bruises, the Avalanche entered the All-Star break in a playoff spot. To weather the injury storm, Colorado has relied on 39 different skaters this season, a mark that’s tied for the most in a single season since the team relocated to Denver in 1995.

“Anybody we can get back right now is huge,” said Makar, whose team kicks off a three-game trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Byram returns after being sidelined with a lower-body injury since early November. He was an integral part of their Stanley Cup run a season ago, when he led all rookies with nine assists in the postseason. Byram was off to a fast start this season – two goals and three assists in 10 games – before his injury.

“He’s looking great. He’s buzzing out there,” Makar said of his fellow blue liner. “Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to get back into game mode. But I think he’s a guy that can turn it on pretty quickly.”

Byram missed a chunk of games last season as he dealt with concussion symptoms. This time, he was able to be around the team as he worked his way back.

“I was just happy it wasn’t my head,” Byram said. “It was a lot easier to be out when you’re still feeling good and feel like yourself. … I’m just excited to get going again.”

Count on Byram for as many minutes as necessary, too.

“I’m 100%, so no reason to ease into it,” Byram said. “I’m confident with jumping back in.”

Manson will join the Avalanche on the trip so he can skate with the squad. He’s been out with a lower-body injury since the start of December.

“I do think it helps to get on the road, be around the guys,” Bednar said.

Landeskog could be back “fairly soon,” Bednar said, but didn’t have a definitive timeline quite yet. The longtime Avalanche captain has been sidelined since knee surgery in October.

The Avalanche entered the All-Star break on quite a roll, winning seven of their last eight. They’ve amassed 57 points, which trails Dallas (66 points at the All-Star break), Winnipeg (65) and Minnesota (58) in the Central Division.

One thing the Avalanche are guarding against is another slow start out off the break. It happened over Christmas when the team had a few days off and promptly went 0-4-1 upon their return.

“It’s just shifting the mentality back to game mode. No more vacation,” Makar said. “We still have a long way to go. We’re not where we want to be right now. But there’s a lot of time left.”

Kraken add some size, acquire Jaycob Megna from San Jose

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SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken acquired defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.

Megna is in the midst of his best season with 12 points in 48 games for the Sharks while averaging more than 19 minutes per game.

“Jaycob has shown with his play this season that he is a responsible defenseman that can be relied on in all situations,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “He provides welcome depth to our defensive group and we are happy to have him join our organization.”

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Megna will add some size and bulk to Seattle’s lineup. Megna ranked fifth for San Jose in both blocked shots and hits.

Megna previously played for Anaheim for parts of three seasons between 2016-19. The 48 games played this season is a career-high for the 30-year-old.

Seattle is tied for the lead in the Pacific Division and will return from the All-Star break beginning against the New York Islanders.

Islanders sign Bo Horvat to 8-year deal after trading for him

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The New York Islanders signed center Bo Horvat to an eight-year contract less than a week after acquiring him in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

The team announced the contract after their first practice following the All-Star break. Horvat’s deal is worth $68 million and carries a $8.5 million salary cap hit through the 2030-31 season.

General manager Lou Lamoriello joked to reporters at practice on Long Island that Horvat’s contract was “too long and it’s too much money.”

The Islanders sent forward Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a protected first-round pick to the Canucks for Horvat . He was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the trade was a result of Vancouver and Horvat’s camp being unable to reach a deal last summer.

Lamoriello and Horvat expressed confidence about getting a deal done after the trade. The 27-year-old has scored more than 30 goals for a second consecutive season.

Horvat was chosen as an All-Star and played for the Pacific Division despite the trade. He played with longtime Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson and combined on one last goal together before parting ways.

“I want to get going,” Horvat said after the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. “That’s enough. Let’s start playing some games and getting to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again.”

Horvat was on vacation with his family in Orlando when he was traded. He said coach Lane Lambert wanted him to enjoy All-Star festivities before getting rolling with the Islanders, who play at the Philadelphia Flyers.

“Obviously getting my legs under me is going to be No. 1 and getting systems down and obviously chemistry with the new linemates and stuff like that,” Horvat said.

After facing the Flyers and Seattle, Horvat will play against his former team when Vancouver visits UBS Arena.