First-Line Fixture: T.J. Oshie Playing too Good For Caps to Let Him Go

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Photo: NHL

When the Capitals acquired T.J. Oshie nearly two years ago, they did so with the hope he could solidify the first-line right wing spot in their lineup; one that had been a revolving door for years. And now in the final year of his current contract, Oshie has proven himself invaluable to the Caps and his future needs to be determined before July 1. 

Oshie has been one of the Caps’ most productive players when healthy, as he is second on the team with 19 goals, behind Alex Ovechkin’s 25. He is one of the Capitals’ most valuable weapons on the power play and has been a steadying presence on the top-line.

Through 43 games played (he’s missed nine games due to injury and one for personal reasons), he’s scored 19 goals (he scored a career-high 26 in his first season in Washington) and added 15 assists for 34 points. This puts him on pace for a career-high 33 goals, and 26 assists for 59 points. And at 30-years old, Oshie is still very much in the prime of his career.

Oshie has also been one of the best forwards defensively for the Caps. He has a Corsi rating of 50.0 and the Caps have a save percentage of .931 when he is on the ice.

The Capitals will have some difficult decisions this summer when it comes to free agents. Among their most notable (both restricted and unrestricted) are Oshie, Karl Alzner, Justin Williams, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Nate Schmidt, Brett Connolly, Dmitry Orlov, and Philipp Grubauer among others. With heavily limited cap space at the moment, the Caps will not be able to afford all of them. Oshie will likely command a mich higher salary than his current $4.175 million, and will likely be looking for a long-term deal.

The reasons Oshie is so invaluable are that the loss of his production will undoubtedly hurt and that the Caps simply don’t have a clear replacement ready to take his place. While Tom Wilson could see more ice time, he may not be ready to shoulder heavy minutes. No matter what happens come late June and early July, Oshie will have an impact on the Caps, whether he stays or goes.

By Michael Fleetwood

TJ Oshie and Lars Johansson cutting the rug after big comeback win in Dallas. @marcusjohansson90

A post shared by NoVa Caps (@nova_caps) on

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of Caps fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. Born the year the Capitals went to their first and only Stanley Cup Final, Michael is a diehard Caps fan and is the owner of the very first Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe B himself. His favorite player became Nate Schmidt after meeting Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles
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3 Responses to First-Line Fixture: T.J. Oshie Playing too Good For Caps to Let Him Go

  1. jalabar says:

    Unfortunately, the Caps are just not going to be able to pay Oshie. They have Kuznetsov that is going to need, probably 6.5-7 per, Orlov needs a new contract, Karl Alzner is up, and Justin Williams along with Oshie. I think Kuznetsov and Orlov should be the priorities, and then that is going to leave it to whether they can afford to keep Alzner and/or Oshie. Alzner is going to be looking for 5-6 and Oshie will probably be looking for 6. And then Williams, if he wants to keep playing, will be re-signeed if they have enough left after those others.

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  2. redlityogi says:

    Agreed – Kuznetsov is the must-sign, and then Orlov and Burakovsky. Bura and Kuznetsov will be the future core and if Vrana can continue to improve and Sanford (and I think the Caps are high on all four as they should be) they will have to let other players move on. Oshie – certainly sign him if you can after you’ve signed the other guys. Alzner is likely gone unless the other payers sign for less than anticipated. Williams would have to sign for less and he’d probably have a reduced role at age 36. Great signing and great player while he was here. He’s the kind of signing all NHL teams will have to do.
    Kuznetsov obviously can be elite – we’re seeing that this last month. He still has room for improvement – he can learn a lot from Backstrom (who couldn’t?) and one hopes he does. But a 7 years for 7 mil would be a satisfactory deal for both sides, I’d think. Maybe he takes less (6.5, 6.7?) the way Backstrom did in exchange for more term. Does he look like someone who can produce until age 32? Datsyuk certainly did. If you look at the Blackhawks as a model, because of the cap they had to let very good players go – Byfuglien, Saad, Campbell, Ladd. And they’ve been able to make it work. It almost seems as if you *don’t* lose good players to the cap, you’re doing something wrong. (Hell, the Caps lost Ward and he’s become a solid top 6 in SJ, right? We’ll lose more players.)

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  3. redlityogi says:

    one other thing about Williams – he’s the kind of charismatic presence one would want in the organization as a coach, scout, assistant GM type. People like him can create the atmosphere that will get good players and coaches and scouts to want to be part of the organization, so on that score, it would be great if the Caps can keep him playing with an eye on moving him into some role off the ice.

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