Oshie's former college coach named first head coach of the Kraken originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Seattle Kraken named Dave Hakstol as the team's first head coach in franchise history on Thursday.
Hakstol, 52, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers for over three seasons. But it was at the University of North Dakota where Hakstol came to prominence coaching there for 15 seasons, 11 of which as the head coach. It was there that he coached Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie for three seasons from 2005 to 2008.
Oshie's name has been speculated as a player Washington could potentially leave exposed in the Seattle expansion draft this summer due to his age, 34, and contract, four years remaining with a $5.75 million cap hit. Because of his production, likeability, and the fact that he was born in Washington state, if Oshie was to be left exposed he would be a hard player for Seattle to pass on.
Both Oshie and Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan have expressed their desire for Oshie to remain with Washington and it is doubtful that the hiring of Hakstol will really change either of their opinions.
Ultimately, the hiring of Hakstol changes little when it comes to the possibility of Oshie going to Seattle. The Caps must decide by July 17 who to protect from the draft and Oshie will likely not even be available to them. The only way in which the hiring of Hakstol changes things is that it makes it even more likely that the Kraken would take Oshie if he were to be left exposed.
While the reasoning for why Seattle would want Oshie makes sense, the fact remains that he is a 34-year-old player whose production will, at some point, not live up to the remaining years of his contract. If the Caps decided to expose Oshie as a way to cut salary, there's no guarantee that Seattle would take him, That could have potentially left the Caps with a tricky situation of having a player they want to move and publicly tried to move but ultimately couldn't.
The hiring of Hakstol likely erases the guesswork here. As a coach with familiarity with Oshie, there should be little doubt that Oshie would be Seattle's pick if left exposed. It just makes too much sense.
Again, it doesn't matter if MacLellan was not going to expose Oshie anyway, but certainty in these types of situations always helps a team in its decision-making.