What's buzzing:

Buzzing The Net

Plymouth Whalers — and Team Canada — lose Tom Wilson to Washington Capitals

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

View photo

.

Wilson debuted with the Capitals during last spring's playoffs (Patrick Semansky, The Associated Press)

A big-bodied hole has opened in Team Canada's player pool for the world junior championship. The Washington Capitals, while acknowledging there is no "perfect formula" for bringing along budding 19-year-old power winger Tom Wilson, have opted to keep him up for the season rather than return him to the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers.

Wilson is averaging fewer than seven minutes of ice time through seven games with Washington. However, the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder is going to have to learn to play at 'man speed' sooner rather than later, so the Caps have committed to using the first year of his NHL entry-level deal. From Katie Carrera:

[Capitals coach Adam] Oates believes Wilson is better served even with a minor role in the NHL than he would be as a standout against his peers in juniors. “We’ve obviously liked his progression, so many things he brings. It’s a tough decision. We’ve talked about it a lot of times, about how we don’t want to hold him back,” Oates said. “He can go back to junior and score goals and get assists and play 20 minutes but develops a lot of bad habits and they’re not the goals you’d score here, not the assists you’d get here. They’re not the situations or the speed you’d get here. We don’t have the perfect formula, no question, but we think he belongs and we want him and the teammates love him. Hopefully he’ll continue to grow.” (Washington Post)

The Capitals, it goes without saying, are a little handcuffed by the CHL-NHL player agreement that binds a player drafted out of a Hockey Canada-sanctioned league to completing four seasons of junior before being able to play in American Hockey League. On some level, Plymouth probably expected to lose Wilson, who looked like a man among boys during the playoffs last spring. One can see why the Capitals are going to let him learn on the job and see how he responds now that the spectre of being sent back to the OHL isn't dangling over him.

"It's huge; it's awesome; it definitely makes me feel a little bit more comfortable," Wilson said. "Every kid that comes in the league, the league's made a big deal about that nine-, 10-game rule on contracts and all that stuff, so it's always in the back of your mind and you're trying to make the most out of the beginning of the season, but definitely be able to settle in a little bit and almost have that mindset that I'm going to be around and start to get comfortable." (NBC Washington)

Part of the reason Wilson's stock rose in the run up to the 2012 draft, where Washington tapped him with the No. 16 overall pick, is that he was a rare quality in that draft year and a rough-and-tumble wing without limited offensive capabilities. He nearly bashed his way on to Team Canada with an outstanding selection camp, but the decision-makers ultimately opted to take the older Anthony Camara and Mark McNeill over to Ufa. The group that Canada had at its summer development camp really didn't have a player with Wilson's physical profile. Two OHL team captains, the Belleville Bulls' Brendan Gaunce and Kerby Rychel, are each bigger-bodied forwards, although neither profiles quite the same as Wilson.

Of course, how important this is depends on what kind of team head coach Brent Sutter and head coach Ryan Jankowski envision sending to Malmo, Sweden in December. Trying to win through brutalizing opponents hasn't really worked lately.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

View Comments (1)
  • Indians' prospect Lindor shines in 4-2 win over Reds

    Indians' prospect Lindor shines in 4-2 win over Reds

    Francisco Lindor's time is coming. The top prospect in Cleveland's organization, Lindor got two hits and showed off his glove Wednesday as the Indians beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 in a Cactus League exhibition. The 21-year-old Lindor rose to … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 minutes 51 seconds ago
  • With Peterson's status in question, Vikings pay a visit

    With Peterson's status in question, Vikings pay a visit

    The Minnesota Vikings have made their in-person pitch to Adrian Peterson, the latest step toward resolving the star running back's unclear status. Whether it's keeping him or turning to a trade, the Vikings will likely make up their minds soon … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • Nieuwenhuis has 4 hits for Mets in win over Braves

    Nieuwenhuis has 4 hits for Mets in win over Braves

    Dillon Gee allowed two runs in two innings and Kirk Nieuwenhuis went 4 for 4 and scored a run, leading the New York Mets to an 8-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday. It's a matter of getting my pitches together.'' Wandy Rodriguez, who … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • AP Source: Peyton Manning returning for 18th NFL season

    AP Source: Peyton Manning returning for 18th NFL season

    Peyton Manning is taking one more shot at the silver trophy. Weeks of speculation about the five-time MVP's future ended Wednesday with word that he's returning for an 18th season in the NFL and fourth in Denver. A person with knowledge of the … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 minutes ago
  • Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup

    Ever since Alex Rodriguez resurfaced from a year out of the spotlight while serving his 162-game suspension for his role in Biogenesis, the questions were abundant. Rodriguez batted second and was 1 for 2 with a walk against three Philadelphia … More »

    Reuters - 14 minutes ago