When the Capitals acquired him two years ago in a trade with the St. Louis Blues, right wing T.J. Oshie was viewed as a complimentary piece to the Capitals’ Stanley Cup puzzle, a player who could hopefully help get the team over the championship drought the team had endured since its inception. And while the team has yet to lift Lord Stanley’s mug over its heads, Oshie has become much more than what he was brought in to be.
From the moment he stepped into the Capitals’ lineup, Oshie has never played a game without energy, ambition, or a desire to win. Despite entering only his third season in a Caps sweater, Oshie has a burning desire to win a championship for the Capitals and their fans. And through two full seasons, Oshie’s numbers reflect that desire. In 148 games played in a Capitals sweater, Oshie has scored 59 goals and recorded 48 assists for 107 points, with a plus-44 rating. And with his contract set to expire after the conclusion of last season, the team made it a priority to re-sign him, doing so by inking him to a massive eight-year, $46 million contract. And as the heart and soul of the team, Oshie certainly earned it.
While the Caps have other veteran players that are vital components of the team such as captain Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Braden Holtby, Oshie’s approach to each and every game is what sets him apart from the others. When one watches him at practice, his effort level is always at 100%, and it’s clear that he has fun at the same time. This is not to say that other members of the team do not give the same effort or have fun, but Oshie has set an example that younger players on the team such as Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov can follow. With the offseason departures of veterans such as Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson, and Karl Alzner, Oshie will be expected by the coaching staff to become more of a leader this season, something the energetic right wing should have no problem doing.
While he may not wear a captain’s “C”, or an alternate’s “A”, Oshie’s passionate, dedicated, and energetic playing style has made him one of the most popular members of the Capitals, as well as a key player on the ice. It is these qualities that will make him a core piece of the team’s puzzle for the next eight seasons, and why he will continue to be the heart and soul of the Washington Capitals.
By Michael Fleetwood