Assessing T.J. Oshie’s Line Combinations For The 2022-23 Season: What Worked (And What Didn’t Work)

Earlier this week we continued our analysis of the performance of the Washington Capitals forward group over the course of the 2022-23 season by taking a closer look at the performance of each and every line combination as they relate to individual players. The refined look attempts to glean additional insight into the team’s specific needs for the upcoming season.

We began the deeper dive on Capitals forwards with captain Alex Ovechkin’s line combinations. Yesterday we reviewed each and every line combination deployed with Evgeny Kuznetsov, and today we take a look at the performance of each and every line combination deployed with T.J. Oshie.

The following graph plots all forward line combinations deployed with T.J. Oshie for the 2022-23 season at five-on-five (sans lines that included Marcus Johansson, Lars Eller and Garnet Hathaway).

The graph includes the total time each line was on the ice (TOI), the percentage of offensive zone faceoffs each line was on the ice for (OZFO%), the expected goals differential (xGF – xGA) and the expected goals for percentage (xGF%) deployed at five-on-five. [Click to enlarge].

[The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick and the NoVa Caps Advanced Analytics Model (NCAAM). If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary]

Note: The thin horizontal red line above bifurcates the positive and negative expected goals for percentages for all of the line combinations.


Oshie had somewhat of a relative sub-par campaign for the 2022-23 season, finishing with a personal expected goals for percentage of 46.08%. Regardless, he did manage 19 goals and 16 assists in just 58 games played and was still 6th on the team in total points. Not bad, considering all of his injuries.

The Milano-Strome-Oshie line was arguably Oshie’s best line last season. If you’ve read either of the previous posts, you know that Milano keeps popping up when identifying top line performances. He was used in quite a few line combinations and more often than not the line thrived. The same can be said for Dylan Strome.

However, former Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette and the coaches deployed Oshie with Milano and Evgeny Kuznetsov for 85.67 of time on ice at five-on-five this season, the most for any Oshie line. The Milano-Kuznetsov-Oshie line did ok, coming in just above 50%.

The Ovechkin-Strome-Oshie line also worked well, but was deployed for just 26.28 of time on ice at five-on-five. It’s somewhat curious why this line wasn’t given more minutes, considering their proven success.


After being limited to just 44 games played in the 2021-22 season, mostly due to injury, Oshie once again dealt with injuries over the course of his 2022-23 campaign. He left the Capitals preseason game against the St. Louis Blues with an upper body injury on October 5, but was able to return for opening night against the Bruins on October 12.

Oshie then left the Predators game on October 29 with a lower body injury and did not return to the lineup until November 23 against the Flyers.

Oshie also suffered a non-contact upper body injury against the Maple Leafs on December 17 that had him miss the remainder of December. He also missed the last few games of the season.

As for line combinations that didn’t really work, Laviolette and company deployed the Oshie-Kuznetsov-Mantha line for 32.57 of time on ice at five-on-five, but they never really found much success, recording a xGF% of 42.8%.


Oshie may never play more than 50 games again, but in the grand scheme of things, that might be ok, as long as he’s ready for any potential postseason work. He continues to prove he is a difference maker in and off the ice for the team when he does play in games, and that’s where his value lies. The team will just need to be careful with his minutes from here on out.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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10 Responses to Assessing T.J. Oshie’s Line Combinations For The 2022-23 Season: What Worked (And What Didn’t Work)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’d sign up for 50 games for Osh next season if it guaranteed postseason play.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Osh babe!

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s getting to where 3rd line minutes with Power Play time and off one back to backs would prolong T.Js effectiveness

  4. Prevent Defense says:

    Oshie is still a beast — when he can stay in the lineup. As NHL senior citizens, Oshie and Ovechkin are still effective with carefully managed minutes

    Any formula for keeping Oshie healthy? His situation reminds me a bit of my old pal, defenseman Mike Green. “Game Over” Green was supremely talented and often effective …. but Green refused to avoid the big injury, year after year. Can’t help much from the Press Box

    • novafyre says:

      How do you convince a player like Osh that less is more? He thinks he’s still a beast, wants to be a beast, and tries to be a beast, yet that is not being as productive as he could be for the Caps. Throughout his career he has only known one way to play, one gear. He can still help the Caps if he can find those other, healthier gears, but how do the Caps go about changing him? I fear the same for Willy and, frankly, am amazed that Ovi’s body is still as strong as it is.

      • Rich427 says:

        novafyre, I have similar concerns about whether we can get Osh to tone down his checking game a little. I have also been surprised that we haven’t lost Ovi for more games in the past. But we now know that TJ has a back injury and has gone through a medical procedure which hopefully will help. He has admitted that he has to change his game. Can he? I hope so. I would like to see a 3rd line that included TJ and Malenstyn. Hopefully with Beck’s heavy game on the ice at the same time as Osh, TJ might not feel so compelled to board check quite as often.

  5. Prevent Defense says:

    The NHL Final Four 2023 could contain both recent expansion teams (SEA 2021 and VGK 2017)

    Thrilled? Disgusted?

    It’s not “your father’s NHL” anymore. Expansion teams were universally awful until the Gory Bottmann-ized version this decade. Extremely generous terms: <> across thirty NHL rosters

    The 1974 Caps sure didn’t have this kind of luxury. Nor did the 1972 or 1968 Expansion draft classes. Even CBJ and NSH were cellar-dwellers in their first years. OTT was expansion in 1992 and almost replace the 1974-75 Caps as the all-time worst. TBL 1992 was awful too. Plus the 1972 and ’74 drafts had the WHA competing for players as well.

    So I dismiss the VGK “We’re Golden Misfits” idea. The Number Eight forward on EVERY NHL team is an excellent hockey player. So is the Number Four defenseman! Do it 30 times and you’ve just assembled a superb NHL team. And zero of them are allowed to be injured. And I won’t even mention the HALF BILLION DOLLARS CASH payment up front to expand, ensuring compliance. Well I did mention it.

    SEA nauseates me just a hair less than VGK.
    Happy Monday!

    • Prevent Defense says:

      This was missing from above text for some reason: seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender OR eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender [These were the terms of the 2017 VGK roster selection]

  6. Prevent Defense says:

    Several sports internet sources show Garnet Hathaway at a recent Red Sox game. He barehand-catches a foul ball from BOS 3B Justin Turner. Mezzanine-level, 1B side

    Kuzy is headed to NSH / COL / CAR / CBJ … in several NHL blogs. Orlov back to the Caps is in the conjecture pages too. Scanning for Carbery sniffs in blog-space, since TOR is eliminated. Nothing yet!

  7. Jon Sorensen says:

    Greetings folks! Just a quick note, if you haven’t done so already, please consider subscribing to NoVa Caps posts in the “subscribe” box located in the upper right corner. Thank you!

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