'I Think The Rangers Will Try To Goad Him', Arthur Staple On How The Rangers Will Handle Capitals Tom Wilson

Arthur Staple joined the PuckTalkCS podcast to preview the NHL playoffs and how the Rangers will handle Capitals forward Tom Wilson.
New York Rangers v Washington Capitals
New York Rangers v Washington Capitals / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The physical game is amplified like every other aspect of hockey in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The New York Rangers are the favorite to win the best-of-seven series against the Washington Capitals, but one factor can radically shift the Caps' chances.

The Blueshirts have a history with Tom Wilson, a player who is an important part of the team's offensive production, while also being reckless and unruly. Wilson may be engaged in after-whistle shenanigans in this series, but may not be by choice.

"Tom Wilson's an incredibly important guy to this Washington group right now. He's arguably their second or third most important forward...he's too important to get distracted by the sideshow," said Arthur Staple on PuckTalkCS.

Part of an aging core, the 30-year-old winger posted 35 points (18 goals, 17 assists) in 74 games played this season. He averages 18:04 TOI skating ont he Capitals second line, and shifts regularly as a penalty killer.

"The job of guys like Matt Rempe, Barclay Goodrow, Jimmy Vesey, Vincent Trocheck...you're going to see the Rangers try and goad him into some stuff," said Staple.

"The common sense theory is that it's Tom Wilson, he's going to goad other people into stuff, but the Caps are just bereft of genuine skill up front. I think it's going to be the reverse."

The Capital's top four goal scorers this season combined for 94 tallies this season. Alexander Ovechkin finished with 31 goals, Dylan Strome netted 27, and Connor McMichael and Tom Wilson each tied for third with 18 goals.

The Rangers boast five 20-plus goal scorers, and Adam Fox finished sixth on the team with 17 goals from the blue line. Depth forwards Kaapo Kakko, Jimmy Vesey, and Will Cuylle ended the regular season with 13 goals.

With limited firepower in the o-zone, Wilson will be counted on to produce in support of the team's only 30-goal scorer, Alex Ovechkin.

Wilson led the Capitals with 133 penalty minutes this season, 86 more than Nic Dowd who recorded the second-highest total.

The Ontario native has been suspended six times in his NHL career, from 2017 to 2018 he was suspended four times. In total, he has missed four preseason games, 18 regular season games, and three Stanley Cup playoff contests.

In 83 career playoff games, Wilson has recorded 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists), winning the Stanley Cup in 2018. He concurrently racked up 134 penalty minutes in post-season play.