ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals have big plans for forward Tom Wilson.
The Capitals started by signing Wilson, 22, to a two-year, $4 million contract Thursday. He had 23 points in 82 games with Washington last season. He could have become a restricted free agent Friday.
"I love it in Washington," Wilson said Friday. "I can't really imagine playing anywhere else. I'm extremely happy to be back. I just want to win there, and it obviously shows a lot from the organization to me. I want to try and give all that back like I try to do every night, just play my role and hopefully help the team win."
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in May that the next step for Wilson is to develop into more productive power forward, which MacLellan believes the Capitals missed during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"I think it's on us to turn Tom Wilson into Joel Ward," MacLellan said in May. "It's on Tom and on us to turn him into that kind of guy that has a net-front presence, that finds loose pucks, finds rebounds, plays good along the wall. I think Tom is our answer to that."
Video: Washington's Wilson is mic'd for OT thriller
Wilson said he's already started on the path toward becoming that kind of player and is flattered by the comparison to Ward. Last season was Wilson's first playing on the penalty kill and he scored an NHL career-high seven goals.
"[Ward] is a great guy and he's really good at what he does," Wilson said. "If I'm going to help the team I've got to be really good at what I do. If I could mold into that type of player, that would be awesome. I think our team needs that kind of guy, a steady guy that's going to produce and help the team on any given night."
Though he played primarily on the fourth line and averaged 12:55 per game last season, Wilson wants to make a difference no matter where or how much he plays.
"I think everyone that's watched me play or watched the Caps know that I'm a heart-and-soul guy," Wilson said. "I'm just going to try to do something every night to prove that I'm good enough to be in the lineup."