The Washington Capitals could be without hard-hitting forward Tom Wilson for training camp after the 20-year-old injured his ankle in a fall in Ontario. According to the team's Dump 'n Chase blog, the extent of the right-winger's injury will not be known until he is fully evaluated by doctors in Toronto, with the team's medical staff remaining in contact. That evaluation was expected to take a few days.
According to the Washington Post, Wilson's agent Mark Guy said he did not expect Wilson's injury to keep him out of the early part of the regular season, but didn't know for sure without the latest results.
With needing more time to evaluate the injury, it certainly doesn't sound great for a short-term recovery. Should he miss training camp and the beginning of the season, as very well could be possible at this point, that could be a real problem for the Capitals' early season plans.
Wilson, the club's first-round selection at 16th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, played all 82 games last season, primarily on Washington's fourth line. He put up just 10 points, but racked up 151 penalty minutes as he slotted into a role as the team's primary tough guy despite his relative youth.
But teams aren't supposed to draft punchers in the first round and Wilson's 58 points in 48 games in his last year of junior hockey suggest he's more than just a fourth-line pugilist. In fact, at 6-feet-4 and 210 pounds, he still has the potential to develop into a top-six power forward who does more to add points to the scoreboard instead of being a frequent visitor to the penalty box.
Any time a player suffers an injury away from the rink, it's obviously a concern. To lose valuable time this offseason to work out and build up to possibly playing a larger role under new coach Barry Trotz next season is rather unfortunate. Putting Wilson in a variety of situations during the preseason would be the best way to figure out if he's ready for more responsibility as opposed to trying to do it during live regular-season action.
Wilson could come back from this without missing a beat, but this is a situation that will be a cause of concern until the final results of his injury evaluation are known.