The Good and The Bad of Tom Wilson's New Deal, and How It Affects The Blue Jackets

By Sam Blazer on July 31, 2018 at 8:10 am
Zach Werenski tracks down Tom Wilson during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Geoff Burke – USA TODAY Sports

The overall reaction to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson's new contract was that of surprise and incredulity. He signed a six-year deal worth $31 million, and carries an annual average value (AAV) of $5.16 million per year. 

It may feel like this deal has nothing to do with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but it has both good and bad implications for the team. 

The Blue Jackets have fallen in love with grit before – just take a look at the Brandon Dubinsky contract ($5.85 million AAV). Looking back on it, the team had only seen him put up multiple high-point total seasons. They are now paying his age-30 and over seasons, which is an issue, while Wilson's deal eats up most of his 20's. 

Josh Anderson is a similar player to Wilson while being more offensively talented, and if you're Anderson's agent, you have to be slightly upset that the deal for Wilson didn't take place a couple of months earlier. It should make a long-term deal for Anderson all the more interesting if he continues to progress in Columbus.

Not to mention with Wilson staying around for the foreseeable future, that means that there will be a player trying to terrorize the Blue Jackets. Take the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs into account: while Alexander Wennberg isn't going to change the complexion of a series, Wilson put one of the Blue Jackets' better offensive players on the sideline with one (dangerous) hit. 

You can't tell me that isn't valuable, especially for the Capitals. No one around the league and around the sport will say that he was rewarded for what he did there. But he was rewarded for what he did there and what he did in other series as well: violence still pays in the NHL.

Jeff Veillette of the Faceoff Circle wrote about Wilson's contract and accurately points out the folly in the deal. It should leave others around the league scratching their heads, yet it couldn't be any more obvious what the answer is for why they did the deal. They're high on their own supply.

You can and will believe your own hype if you decide to focus the success onto one player. Wilson is obviously that player. He's the "missing link" or the believed missing link for the team. If you look at the deals they have made, and how smart they have been otherwise, this deal isn't just an outlier, it feels more like a thank you. When you're a Stanley Cup champion, those happen. Just ask the Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks in recent memory. They have deals that they are still trying to get rid of from those eras. 

The Blue Jackets now have a division rival eating up a large percentage of their cap with a player that is a third liner on a good day (that's good). The bad part is now that offensively-inclined players for the Blue Jackets need to keep their heads up. The league isn't going to do much about Wilson and if he continues on, the Capitals will actually get their money's worth. Just a small price to pay to alter an opposing team.

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