Oates: Wilson can learn from Lindros

Oates: Wilson can learn from Lindros
July 13, 2013, 1:45 pm
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Caps move on from Hendricks, Ribiero

Could the Capitals have another Eric Lindros on their hands?

Time will tell.

But that’s the comparison Adam Oates used for burly prospect Tom Wilson as the Caps concluded their annual development camp Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Wilson put on 12 pounds and arrived at development camp at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. But he wasn’t the biggest player at Kettler this week.

Adam Oates wanted Wilson to go up against some of the organization’s biggest defensmen and this week he did, facing Jaynen Rissling [6-4, 223], Michal Cajkovsky 6-4, 229] and Mike Monfredo [6-4, 225], along with his own Plymouth Whalers teammate Connor Carrick [5-11, 190].

“He’s such a big man and the one thing we don’t want for him is to get into lazy habits because he dwarfs everybody out there,” Oates said. “I don’t want to compare, but it’s a little like Eric Lindros.

“[Lindros] was so much bigger than everybody in junior and he could just cruise around out there. Tom has that capability and we just want to make sure he’s on track.”

As a member of the Oshawa Generals, Lindros tore up the Ontario Hockey League, but had to adjust to facing bigger, nastier defensemen in the NHL. Former Capitals defenseman Scott Stevens became a thorn in Lindros’ side and ultimately shortened his playing career with a devastating hit in the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals.

Wilson said facing some bigger, older defensemen this week was good for him, especially since he wants to make the Caps’ roster in training camp.

“I still want to get bigger and stronger,” Wilson said. “The next level is the fastest league in the world and most of the guys are the strongest men in the world.

“The huge thing for me coming in as a 19-year-old is to be able to battle with guys like John Erskine. Every team has a big defenseman like that.”