The Washington Capitals have a long summer ahead after a disappointing 2nd round playoff loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins. With salary cap constraints and a handful of free agents, Capitals brass will have some tough personnel decisions in the upcoming months.
One of the most notable unrestricted free agents for the Capitals is T.J. Oshie. Oshie, 30, was a 2005 1st round pick of the St. Louis Blues, and just spent his second season with the Capitals. Oshie will face plenty of suitors if he hits the open market on July 1.
Oshie has played in almost 600 regular season NHL games. He recorded a career high 33 goals with the Capitals this summer, and played primarily on the Capitals top line next to Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. In Oshie’s 9-year NHL career, he has put up 50+ points in 5 of those seasons.
Oshie is a strong skater that is quick to retrieve loose pucks. He is a strong forechecker, and is not afraid to throw a body check despite his smallish frame. Oshie is a shootout specialist, as evidenced in the video below.
Oshie is likely the Capitals best utility man. He can be used in all situations for the Capitals. He is featured on the Capitals top powerplay unit, and he is also one of the club’s top penalty killers.
Since Oshie played next to Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin most of the season, he would tend to pass up shots too often in various games. Among the Capitals regular forwards in the top 6, he was ranked 5th in shots on goal in the group.
Overall, there are not many flaws that stick out about T.J. Oshie. Since he is likely the Capitals best overall player in terms of versatility, it is hard to pinpoint things that he does not do well.
Loui Eriksson (VAN) ($6m cap hit)
Patric Hornqvist (PITT) ($4.25m cap hit)
Joe Pavelski (SJ) ($6m cap hit)
Kyle Okposo (NYI) (6m cap hit)
The comparable players listed above were chosen based on similar point production and roles within their respective clubs.
Since Oshie is likely going to be one of the top forward free agents on the open market, he will have plenty of teams looking to sign him, including the Capitals.
Oshie’s biggest obstacle at this point is his age. At 30, the downward spiral for a player’s career can begin, so teams will use extra caution with this for his next and presumably final contract.
Loui Eriksson and Kyle Okposo were two of the biggest free agents on the open market last summer. Both players received 6 and 7-year deals respectively, which will push both players into their mid-30s when their deals expire.
Oshie will likely receive something similar on the open market. A 6 or 7-year deal is feasible, and his average cap hit could even hit around the $7.5 million range. If Oshie re-signs with the Capitals, he will likely need to take a contract that is less than what he will make on the open market. A contract that he signs with the Capitals will likely fall somewhere in the $6-6.5 million range.
While it may be a steep price for a player that is now 30 years old, goal scoring is at a premium in today’s league. 30-goal scorers rarely hit the open market in today’s league, so Oshie will be considered a hot commodity by many suitors.
By: George Foussekis