Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie has had a tremendous year both in terms of production, leadership, and overall effort on the ice. Time-after-time, he has been one of the Caps’ best players on the ice, encouraging his teammates and lighting up the scoreboard. In this piece, NoVa Caps’ CJ Witt takes a look at the impact Oshie has had in another successful season for both himself and the Capitals. While he didn’t set a career-high in points, one could argue that he had the best regular season of his NHL career. While he played just 68 games due to injuries, one could see the possibility of T.J. knocking on the 40-goal mark this season. Still, 33 goals is nothing to be disappointed about, as he bested his former career-high of 26 goals, set last season in his first year in Washington.
Oshie, like a lot of players in the past, has seemed to save his best season for a contract year. The 2016-17 season was the last year of a five-year, $20.875 million contract. His cap hit, currently $4.175 million, is expected to be much higher next season, as he is due for a massive raise. All fans have seen it in the past: a player has a good regular season, but then struggles in the playoffs, bringing his value down a little bit. That hasn’t been the case for T.J.
One could make the case that Oshie has been one of the best Capitals throughout the playoffs. In a playoff season in which the Caps still have work to do to meet expectations, Oshie has been noticeable in just about every game. He has put in the effort every game and generated plenty of chances. And, by the way, he is nearly a point per game player in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, having scored three goals and 10 points in 11 playoff games. Those stats are easy to find: all you have to do is type in T.J. Oshie on the Google search engine and you click his NHL.com profile page.
The effort and impact he has had in games is also easy to see. Simply watching the games, one will quickly see how important he is to this Capitals team. The following are some of the stats that are harder to find.
Ranking 10th on the team in Corsi percentage doesn’t sound that great at first glance, but on the other hand, the Capitals have been a very good possession team during the playoffs. Among players who have played 100 or more minutes during the playoffs, the Caps’ have four of the Top 5, and seven of the Top 10 in Corsi %. That puts Oshie at fifteenth overall in Corsi % at 57.06.
That is only shot attempts, though. Shot attempts don’t mean anything if a player is not getting quality scoring chances or goals. Oshie is getting plenty of both. Per 60 minutes of play, he may sit only at 13th on the team at 7.60, but he does have 20 total scoring chances, putting him in 10th on the team. His Scoring Chances For % is the best in the entire NHL during the playoffs, with a league-leading 71.43. The second-best player is nearly three points back at 68.97. Fans have seen his shot attempts and scoring chances, but what about goals? His three goals are also accompanied by good advanced numbers. His Goals For % is 66%, which is second on the Capitals only behind defenseman Nate Schmidt. His Expected Goals For % is also good, at a team-leading 63.15.
It’s been a career year for Oshie and he has not slowed down in the playoffs. Of course, with that being said, every great game played by Mr. Oshie during the playoffs only makes his next price tag go higher than what the Capitals may be willing to pay.
By CJ Witt