Caps Post Season: T.J. Oshie–Can’t Afford to Let Him Go…

…or can’t afford to keep him? That’s the $20 million plus question. His current contract, which he signed with the St. Louis Blues in 2012 was five years for $20,875,000. Right now he receives  $4.175 million a year and given his performance with the Caps this year, it’s a sure thing he will be looking for more money and at least as long a term as his previous contract. At a minimum we would expect him to seek $30 million for five years.

It’s important to look beyond Oshie’s captivating performance in the 2014 Olympics when he became a shootout sensation. What matters most is what he brought to to the Caps and what he could bring.

On the plus side, like Alex Ovechkin he brought in the crowds. Fans couldn’t wait to see him when he first arrived at Kettler Ice Plex where the Caps practice. It seemed to take him a little while to get in the groove with the team but once he did he became one of the most exciting players to watch.

  • He developed little on-ice rituals with Tom Wilson. And of course there was the jump off the ice at warm ups. He is one to always smile and lighten the mood with the other players.
  • He plays with speed and tenacity. His shot is powerful. He is impressive on the ice and has made a home with fellow teammates off the ice.

And what did he contribute when on the ice? In 148 regular season games he recorded 59 goals and 48 assists. In 25 playoff games he racked up 10 goals and 12 assists. He has definitely improved his scoring percentage since coming the Washington.

  • He and Ovechkin tied for 13th place in the league this past season with 33 goals each. He was 12th in the league for even-strength goals (25).
  • When it comes to shooting, he was seventh on the team with 143 shots on goals. He has the highest shooting percentage, not only on the team but in the league this season at 23.1 percent.
  • He had less time on ice then Oveckin, Nicklas Backstrom, or even Evgeny Kuznetsov and still had higher numbers.
  • He plays defense without a second thought. He actually has 50 blocks in the season; sixth on the team behind the lead defensemen.

When you consider these statistics it is hard to imagine that the Capitals would not consider offering him a generous contract. We know that the 30 year-old winger (soon to be 31) has been instrumental in the success of the Caps the past two season. He has been relatively healthy with a few “upper body” injuries. Age shouldn’t be a major consideration when signing a player of Oshie’s caliber, especially when one looks around the league at successful ‘older’ players.

Keeping Oshie of course means making room in the salary cap for his expanded contract. That could mean letting go of some free agents such as Karl Alzner or Justin Williams. It would be a darn shame for the Oshie’s if the decision is to keep TJ and cut loose Karl as the families have become close, even vacationing together.

On the flip side, there certainly are plenty of teams who would snatch up Oshie in a heartbeat. Its hard to know who he could be a better fit then with the Washington Capitals, but you never know in this sport.

For us, we vote in favor of keeping Oshie for his skill, his positive influence, and because we think he has the leadership chops to stir up the team next season. The Caps need someone in the locker room who sees the glass half full and from everything we have seen, TJ looks to be that guy.

If Oshie stays, who do you recommend the Caps sacrifice in order to afford him?

 

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