Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Throughout the Capitals’ 42 years in existence, they’ve issued a total of 87 different jersey numbers to the hundreds of players that have suited up in the District. In NoVa Caps’ brand new feature, History Behind A Number, NoVa Caps’ writer Michael Fleetwood looks at a few notable players that have worn a given number. Today’s number is No. 77.
In the 42-year history of the Capitals, only three players have worn the No. 77: Hockey Hall of Famer Adam Oates, defenseman Joe Corvo, and right wing T.J. Oshie.
Capitals Career: 1997-2002
Background: One of the best playmakers of his generation, Adam Oates was acquired by the Capitals on March 1, 1997, in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers and spent parts of six seasons in a Capitals sweater.
In his first full season with the Caps (1997-98), Oates recorded 76 points (18 goals, 58 assists) in 82 games and was a huge part of the team’s unprecedented run to the Stanley Cup Final. Before the 1999-2000 season, Oates was named the team captain and held that title for two seasons, before being stripped of the “C” by the Capitals’ management after demanding a trade. Oates played 387 games in a Capitals sweater, scoring 73 goals and adding 290 assists for 363 points. He ranks first in franchise history in assists per game with 0.75, 18th in points, and 11th in assists. In 32 playoff games with the Capitals, Oates recorded 20 points (six goals, 14 assists).
Capitals Career: 2010
Background: Joe Corvo was the second player to ever wear 77, and his tenure in D.C. was short. Acquired by the Capitals on March 3, 2010, from the Carolina Hurricanes for fellow defenseman Brian Pothier, forward Oskar Osala, and a 2011 second-round pick, Corvo played in just 18 games with the Caps, scoring a meager two goals and adding four assists for six points. He finished his short tenure in Washington with a plus/minus rating of minus-4, and averaged 19:41 of ice time a night. In seven playoff games, Corvo contributed just one goal and one assist. The Capitals did not re-sign him after the season and he finished his short Capitals career on a rather unimpressive note.
Capitals Career: 2015-Present
Background: Acquired by the Capitals on July 2, 2015, to bolster an already offensively-stacked lineup. One of two major acquisitions by Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan during the summer of 2015, Oshie has become the first-line right wing the Caps have lacked for years. In his first season in the District, Oshie scored a then-career best 26 goals and a total of 51 points. He developed strong chemistry with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom and has become an instrumental part of the team’s power play.
In his second season with the Caps, Oshie had the most productive season of his career. While he missed several games due to injury, the tenacious winger scored a career-high 33 goals and finished with 56 points in a total of 68 games played. He also finished the campaign with an astronomically high 23.1% shooting percentage.
An unrestricted free agent this summer, the 30-year old has already set himself up for a huge pay raise from his current $4.175 million salary. The Capitals have already expressed their desire to re-sign him, despite his potential asking price and a plethora of other free agents (both restricted and unrestricted) to make decisions on. In 148 games played in Washington, Oshie has 59 goals and 48 assists for 107 points. In 13 playoff games (as of April 14), Oshie has six goals and 11 points. Hopefully, the Caps will be able to keep the popular winger in D.C. for the foreseeable future.
By Michael Fleetwood