“Most of these guys need a year or two anyway. It’d be nice if he was ready in a year,” McPhee said. “Backstrom was ready in a year, Johansson was ready in a year. That would be nice if that worked out.”
All in good time, of course. The Caps took theirs with the 16th pick as well before selecting Thomas Wilson, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound right wing from the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.
Wilson, whom ex-coach Dale Hunter talked up, is known for using his size in hitting, fighting and going hard to the net. The forward had nine goals, 27 points and 141 penalty minutes in 49 games this past season.
“I think most noticeably for me it’s my big, physical game. I’m a big power forward and create space for my linemates,” Wilson said. “I like the physical play and don’t shy away from it, but I think I got some offensive potential to come the next few years.”
That was the idea with the pick, and the Caps liked him enough that McPhee fended off multiple calls to trade it.
“Big, tough kid. It’s going to take a lot of work to get him where we need him, but he certainly plays hard and plays tough,” McPhee said. “There’s a chance he can be a pretty effective player. We get a guy that can play, and he’s tough, too, it’s a harder and harder thing to find in our league now. But this guy might be able to do it.”