Capitals F Tom Wilson's suspension reduced to 14 games

Tom Wilson will be back on the ice sooner than expected.

The Capitals forward initially was suspended 20 games for his brutal hit on Blues center Oskar Sundqvist during the preseason, but the ban has been cut to 14 games by an arbitrator, the NHL and NHLPA jointly announced Tuesday.

The reduced suspension saves Wilson $378,048.78 in lost salary, Sportsnet reported.

The hit occurred in a Sept. 30 game when Wilson leveled Sundqvist with a hit to the head as he was cutting across the ice. Sundqvist left the game bloodied and did not return, while Wilson was ejected after being assessed a 10-minute penalty.

Commissioner Gary Bettman rejected Wilson’s appeal at a hearing last month, as he is considered a repeat offender after being banned three times for hard hits last season.

Wilson, 24, signed a six-year, $31 million contract in July after logging a career-high 14 goals and 21 assists in 78 games last season. He later added five goals and 10 assists in 21 playoff games as Washington won its first Stanley Cup.