T.J. Oshie is Having the Best Start of His Career. How Much of a Difference has he Made with the Capitals?

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During the 2014-15 season, the Capitals were 45-26-11 and were second in the division. Alex Ovechkin had a terrific year, leading the league with 53 goals and had 81 points in 81 games played. Nicklas Backstrom was just as good with 18 goals and 78 points. The Capitals did not have a top line right wing to play with Ovechkin and Backstrom. They tested nine different players in that spot throughout the entire season and were never able to find that match for the top line. 

On July 2, 2015, the Capitals acquired forward T.J. Oshie from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for forward Troy Brouwer, goaltender Pheonix Copley, and a 2016 3rd Round Draft Pick.

During his time in St. Louis, Oshie was coming off his two best seasons in his NHL career. Oshie had a 21 goal and 60 point campaign in 2013-14 and scored the game-winning goal for the United States’ Men’s Olympic Team against Russia in the Winter Olympic Games that year. He missed 10 games the next season but still managed to get 19 goals and 55 points that season. The 60 point season was his career high while he was in St. Louis.

Oshie only benefited since moving to Washington. He started out playing on the top line with Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov during the first few games of the 2015-16 season because Backstrom was recovering from offseason surgery. He finished the season with a career-high 26 goals and 51 points in his first season as a Capital. Oshie was a huge difference maker on the power play, scoring 11 goals and 17 points while Brouwer just scored 8 goals and 15 points on the power play during his final season in Washington. He was even better in the playoffs, scoring six goals and 10 points in 12 playoff games. In St. Louis, he scored five goals and nine points in 30 career postseason games.

Last year, Oshie was even better. He hit the 30 goal plateau for the first time in his career; in fact, he had 33 in only 68 games, which tied Ovechkin for the team-lead in goals. Oshie shot at a ridiculous 23.1% shooting percentage, only taking 143 shots. Oshie finished the season with 56 points, four shy of his career high. He was on pace for 40 goals with his average of 0.49 goals per game and 68 points with his average of 0.82 average points per game. 26 of his goals came at even strength, which led the Capitals. He also had a career-high 12 points in 13 playoff contests. Four of them were goals. Oshie was one of the best Capitals’ offensive producers last season, with all due respect to Nicklas Backstrom, who lead the Capitals with 86 points.

The Capitals signed T.J. Oshie to an 8-year contract extension worth $46 million ($5.75 million AAV) eight days before he was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this past summer.

So far this season, Oshie has six goals and 10 points through 12 games, the fastest start of his career. So far he is shooting at a rate of 25%. He is playing well defensively with seven takeaways, 26 hits, and 10 blocked shots in an average of 19:44 per night. He played his 600th career game October 21 against the Florida Panthers. He is currently on pace for 41 goals and 68 points, ironically his same scoring pace in 2016-17. Do not get too excited because he is unlikely to hit those numbers, though it is not impossible.

He has scored 65 of his 175 career goals (37%) in the past three seasons with the Washington Capitals. Since coming to Washington, he has scored 117 of his 427 career points with the Capitals.

His points per game average bump up to 0.73 points per game and 0.41 goals per game with Washington from 0.7 points per game and 0.25 goals per game he had in St. Louis.

In the trade that landed T.J. Oshie, Washington was able to retain Pheonix Copley in the Kevin Shattenkirk trade last February and the 3rd round pick they gave up to get Oshie. Brouwer signed a 4-year contract with the Calgary Flames as an unrestricted free agent the year after the Blues traded Oshie for him.

Oshie has been a great fit for the Washington Capitals ever since he came over from St. Louis. His numbers go way up in Washington compared to his numbers in St. Louis. If he had left Washington in unrestricted free agency, it would have created a huge hole in the Capitals lineup. He has to keep up his production up to live up to his expectations and his new contract, especially with Andre Burakovsky and Matt Niskanen still out due to injury.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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8 Responses to T.J. Oshie is Having the Best Start of His Career. How Much of a Difference has he Made with the Capitals?

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

    Never really thought about it from Oshie’s point of view, but yes, his numbers and career have blossomed greatly.

    Like

  2. Diane Doyle says:

    Great writeup of Oshie’s Caps’ career

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was one of, if not, the best trades the Caps ever pulled off. Glad to see he’s still here too even after the so called “two year window”

    Like

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