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The salary cap molds and shapes the future plans of NHL teams. Such is the case for the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues and, potentially, T.J. Oshie.
Oshie is signed through 2017 at $4.175 million annually. He’s a well-liked player, meshes with David Backes and gives them an aggressive forechecker. And as we saw in Sochi, he's pretty OK in the shootout sometimes.
But where would you rank him among the best Blues forwards? He’s currently seventh among them in scoring with 12 points in 24 games. He’s been eclipsed by Vladimir Taresenko, Jaden Schwartz and Jori Lehtera. He’s not as vital as Alex Steen or David Backes. He’s probably ahead of Patrick Berglund, but mostly because Berglund’s been a dud this season.
About that salary cap: The Blues project to have well over $12 million in space next season, but with only 15 players under contract. Jake Allen needs a deal. Taresenko (hoo boy) needs a deal. Lehtera’s up in 2016 as a UFA. Schwartz is up in 2016 as well, as an RFA.
The Blues have to look to the future, and Oshie might not be a part of it.
So they’re listening to offers, and Elliotte Friedman says a lot of interest is trickling down from the Boston Bruins.
On Brady and Walker on Friday morning, Friedman said the Bruins have “talked a lot” with the Blues. “They’ve been linked to T.J. Oshie, and the issue there is that he’s got more term,” he said.
And that’s the trick for the Bruins: Their cap situation is even more precarious. They too have over $12 million in space for next season, but only 14 players under contract. Adam McQuaid (UFA), Torey Krug (RFA), Matt Bartkowski (UFA) and Dougie Hamilton (RFA) are all up; so is Reilly Smith (RFA).
(Please recall this cap situation in 2015 was the reason they couldn’t give Jarome Iginla a 2-year deal.)
One assumes any deal for Oshie would be salary for salary. Loui Eriksson, struggling to find his footing in Boston, is signed through 2016 and makes $4.25 million. One-for-one?
But again, that term … would it be worth it for the Bruins for a player that, frankly, simply doesn’t generate enough points?
Friedman said that “Boston’s looking around at a lot of things. I think they’re concerned about a lack of edge on that team.”
Another name, that he terms a longshot? Zack Kassian of the Vancouver Canucks, who would come cheaper than Oshie. He has a $1.75 million cap hit through 2016. And obviously, he plays with the edge they’re looking for.
Zack Kassian, for whom Milan Lucic was a prototype, with Milan Lucic as a mentor?
Or, given that Lucic goes UFA in 2016 … would this be a “Men In Black” training your replacement deal?
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