Where’s T.J.?: T.J. Oshie’s Offensive Slump Uncharacteristic of the Usually-Productive Forward

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Since the Capitals acquired him nearly three years ago, right wing T.J. Oshie has been the model of consistency when it comes to offensive production, with 136 points (70 goals, 66 assists) in 190 games played in a Caps sweater. After signing an eight-year. $46 million contract last summer with the team after an impressive 33-goal season, Oshie has found himself in a scoring slump as of late.

While his numbers aren’t horrendous (29 points in 42 games played), they aren’t what the team and Oshie himself are used to from the 31-year former first-round pick. An injury earlier in the season may play a part in it, as he missed six games due to a concussion, but since returning to action on December 19 against the Dallas Stars, Oshie has just five points (one goal, four assists) in 14 games, with the lone goal coming on December 22; furthermore, four of his five points have come in the past five games. So what exactly is going on with Oshie?

While it’s unlikely the Caps would play him if he had re-occurring issues as a result of the concussion, there’s not a clear explanation for Oshie’s prolonged slump. While it was unlikely Oshie would come close to matching an NHL-best 23.1 shooting percentage from last season, he currently owns a respectable 14.9% shooting percentage, is averaging just 5.6 shots per 60 minutes compared to 7.1 last season, and just 2.2 points per 60 minutes to a slightly better 2.7 last season. The Capitals’ struggling power play could also play a part, as the team has been unable to generate much offense as of late, ranking 16th in the NHL. Oshie hasn’t been given much room to operate in the slot, where he scored 21% of his 33 goals last season (7/33), and seven of his 11 goals this season (64%). On the man-advantage this season, Oshie has averaged 9.2 shots per 60 minutes, with 57% of his shots on the power play getting through to the opposing goalie. At even-strength, 52.1% of his shots have gotten through to the net.

What this indicates is that the reason behind Oshie’s slump may be more attributed to luck than anything else. The effort is clearly there (backed by both numbers and visible on-ice performance), and the fact that more than half of his shots at both even-strength and on the power play are hitting the net says that it may be that the hard-working right wing may just need some bounces to go his way. While slumps like these often have an effect on players’ confidence, Oshie is not one to give up (both on and off the ice), and in time, it’s likely Oshie will regain the scoring touch that has made him such a dangerous player for opposing teams.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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10 Responses to Where’s T.J.?: T.J. Oshie’s Offensive Slump Uncharacteristic of the Usually-Productive Forward

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    Ed Frankovic had suggested that maybe Oshie could be dealing with a hand issue. The fact that he can generate chances and get assists but less likely to shoot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ron Bove says:

    Good article. I believe the concussion may have had something to do with his slump. Like you said if he wasn’t ready to play, the Caps wouldn’t play him but just maybe he isn’t quite 100%. I believe you are right about him not getting the puck to go his way. If he continues to shoot maybe that will change

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good points mentioned. It looks like he’s getting his shots up, just needs some puck luck

    Like

  4. redLitYogi says:

    “While it’s unlikely the Caps would play him if he had re-occurring issues as a result of the concussion” – this is an interesting statement. Is it one the blogpost author believes, or is it his way of calling the Caps out on it if they in fact have rushed him back in or is it a little of both? I’m frankly worried about the concussion. I wasn’t crazy about the overall size of the contract but when you consider how they’ve stretched it over an 8 year span the year by year hit is reasonable. And if his performance goes through the floor in the final years they can buy him out and both sides would be happy. But even with that, he is a big investment and he does need to be protected. If he is not completely well, if he is unable to perform the way he needs to, perhaps it’s best to give him more rest or give him nights off until he’s 100%.

    Like

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Good points to consider. I’d like to believe that with the League’s mandated concussion protocol, rush players back is a thing of the past, but it’s difficult to say,if it works that well.

      Like

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