Jayson Shaugabay closing in on T.J. Oshie's Warroad scoring mark

Jan. 5—WARROAD, Minn. — Not long ago, someone came through Roseau County trying to research Henry Boucha's old Warroad High School point total.

It was not an easy task.

The researcher went to schools, dug up old newspaper clippings from the late 1960s and eventually estimated the former Warroad star's senior year stats. Needless to say, it's an inexact science trying to determine how many points some old Warroad hockey legends totaled in their prep careers.

"But I know from when stats have been good — probably since the late '80s — T.J. Oshie is No. 1 with 241 points," Warroad boys hockey coach Jay Hardwick said.

Not for long.

Warroad senior Jayson Shaugabay has 236 career varsity points and could break Oshie's mark as soon as this weekend.

Warroad hosts Detroit Lakes on Friday night and Fergus Falls on Saturday at The Gardens. Shaugabay is averaging a little more than three points per game this season.

"We've had a lot of great players come through here," Hardwick said. "Usually, that 200-point plateau for anyone is a special number to get to. Jayson hit his 200th point last year in the section final. That got me thinking, 'Oh wow, he's still got another whole year left, and if he comes back, he could set a standard that might be hard for anybody to reach.'"

Shaugabay has been playing varsity since his freshman season, when he jumped from bantams to playing on Warroad's top line with Anthony Foster and Grant Slukynsky.

The 5-foot-9, 165-pound forward's linemates have changed year-to-year, but his production has not wavered.

Shaugabay tallied 30 goals and 72 points as a freshman. He backed that up with 24 goals and 54 points in a COVID-shortened sophomore season. He racked up 27 goals and 82 points last season as a junior, and he's at nine goals and 28 points in nine games this season.

Over the summer, Shaugabay became aware he had a chance to pass Oshie, who has gone on to NHL stardom with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals, winning a Stanley Cup in 2018.

"That guy's pretty special," Shaugabay said. "I never thought that would be something I'd be able to accomplish. I can't put into words how crazy that really is."

Oshie has been following from Washington.

"It's important for the town of Warroad to have another good player for the young players to emulate and watch, to look up to and follow," Oshie said. "Maybe they're not trying to follow in my footsteps anymore. Jayson is their hero. When I was younger, the guys I watched were the ones before me, not necessarily the NHL guys."

Oshie and Shaugabay both had opportunities to leave high school and play in the United States Hockey League as seniors.

Both decided to return to Warroad.

Oshie made a pact with classmate Kyle Hardwick that they'd come back, play their senior season for the Warriors and chase a state title. They went undefeated and won the state championship game in overtime.

Shaugabay, who is committed to Minnesota Duluth, started the season with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers, but like Oshie, wanted to come back and try to win state.

"It's important for the younger kids who are going to The Gardens and watching Jayson play," Oshie said. "In these times of kids getting an advisor early or getting scouted when they're 13 or 14, and a bunch of people wanting to play juniors, it's great to see Jayson staying there and playing enough games to beat my record.

"I imagine the hunger to win a state championship is part of the reason he came back. That's one of the reasons Kyle and I came back. It's great to see him stay. It's great for Minnesota hockey. That was my Stanley Cup — winning the championship at Xcel. It's super cool to see him stay and hopefully it gets more people to stay with him and young kids to see him stay and be loyal."

Warroad won boys hockey state titles during Oshie's sophomore (2003) and senior (2005) seasons. The Warriors have not won a boys state since. They lost in the finals in 2009 and again last season to Hermantown.

"I want to try to win state," Shaugabay said. "That's the main reason I came back. I have one more chance to do it. I only have 30 games left with the kids I grew up with. Being at state twice myself, it's the most fun I've ever had playing hockey. I get one more chance to try to do it."

The Warriors are currently 9-0 and ranked No. 1 in Class A.

Shaugabay, who anchors Warroad's top line with Carson Pilgrim and Murray Marvin-Cordes, is a big reason for the Warriors' success.

"He sees the game different than most players, especially high school players," coach Hardwick said. "He does some things with the puck and makes passes and plays you might see kids try at open hockey, but he will do that stuff in games. I think his vision and hockey IQ are so high. That's what sets him apart. I tell kids when they're on the ice with him, they've got to be ready, because he might put the puck on their stick, even when they don't think it's possible."

Oshie and Shaugabay are the only Warroad players on record to eclipse the 200-point mark.

NHL star Brock Nelson and Slukynsky both finished with 199.

The 200-point club isn't the only connection between Oshie and Shaugabay, who are both Ojibwe.

They also are third cousins. Oshie's father, Tim, and Shaugabay's father, Son, are second cousins. Tim was an assistant coach on Warroad's 2005 title team. Son is an assistant coach on this year's Warroad team.

Oshie said he's watched Shaugabay play before at the Minnesota state tournament.

"I thought he played well on the big stage," Oshie said. "He definitely looks like a super smart player. I've talked to a couple of scouts at the NHL and college level and they seem to be very excited about him as a player."

Shaugabay, of course, has followed Oshie closely, too.

When the Capitals played at Winnipeg last month, Shaugabay made the trip to watch the game. The two spoke to each other after.

"It was nice to say hi to him and just continue to wish him luck," Oshie said. "I'm definitely following his young career from afar."

Oshie said he will be excited for Shaugabay when he does pass the 241-point mark.

"I think it's great," Oshie said. "It was only a matter of time with how easy it is for kids to access ice and get better that someone was going to reach the mark and surpass it. I'm glad Jayson's the first one to do it."

So are the Warriors, who will soon see more history in their hockey-rich town.

"Any time you're mentioned with T.J. Oshie and what T.J. did in high school here, you're obviously doing something right," coach Hardwick said. "T.J. is aware of it, too. He knows Jayson is a special player. I think T.J. is going to be very happy for him when he does it."

241 — T.J. Oshie

236 — Jayson Shaugabay (as of Jan. 4, 2023)

199 — Brock Nelson

199 — Grant Slukynsky

*Among available statistics