T.J. Oshie, American hero, is headed to Washington, D.C.
The St. Louis Blues traded the winger to the Washington Capitals on Thursday in exchange for right wing Troy Brouwer, goaltender Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. From the Caps:
“T.J. is an outstanding skater with a tremendous skill set,” said MacLellan. “He is a powerful player and has consistent track record of production throughout his career in the NHL. We feel that he complements our core group nicely and can help us get to the next level in achieving our ultimate goal. We also want to thank Troy for his contributions to our organization on and off the ice and wish him well in St. Louis.”
Oshie, 28, had 19 goals and 36 assists for the Blues last season in 72 games. He’s of course most famous for scoring in four of six shootout attempts in Team USA’s preliminary round win over Russia in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which turned him into an overnight household name and remains the only thing worth a damn that Olympic team accomplished before sulking out of Russian sans medals.
(The Capitals, for what it’s worth, were 5-4 in the shootout last season.)
Oshie has two years left at $4.175 million on what was a five-year deal. Brouwer, who moves back to the Western Conference after five years with the Capitals, is unrestricted after this season and carries a $3.667 million cap hit.
Oshie can run hot and cold, and basically disappears in the postseason. Luckily, the Capitals also just signed Justin Williams, one of the best playoff performers in the league, so maybe this balances out.
Nice work from GM Brian MacLellan in the last 48 hours. No disrespect to Brouwer and Joel Ward … OK, well, I guess this is disrespect, because Williams and Oshie are a very significant upgrade on the right side.
As for the Blues, GM Doug Armstrong threatened he was going to shake up the core, and he has. Oshie was always going to be the guy most likely to move. He has a skills set that should result in more than 21 goals, which remains his career high. Perhaps a change in scenery would help; then again, so would some time skating with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.
What does Brouwer give the Blues? A net-front presence, for one. A vocal leader and a big body they can throw at the sizable forwards in the West. He scored 21 goals last season for the Capitals and had 25 goals the year before – 20 of them came on the power play, where St. Louis was already at a 22.3 percent clip last season, fourth in the NHL. He’s also a bit better on the penalty kill than Oshie.
But for St. Louis, this is as much about a shock to the system than it is an addition to the roster.
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