As the 2005 NHL Entry Draft took place at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa, Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was glued to the TV in his friend’s basement. However, the top-rated prospect, who was coming off a season that saw him record 100 points in 31 high school games in Warroad, wasn’t keeping an eye on the draft at all. Instead, he had on MTV, and it led to a bit of a scramble when Oshie’s name ultimately did come up on the draft board.
Oshie relived his famous draft night recently on the TorchPro Podcast, where he detailed the series of events that set up the start of what’s been a monumental NHL career.
“I didn’t go to the draft. It was [Real World Road Rules Challenge], I think,” Oshie said on the podcast. “I was just laying on the floor with a pillow behind my head. And my really, really close buddy Eric Olimb from Warroad — he’s more like hockey nerdish, like really pays attention, watches a lot. And so he’s just sitting there with his dial-up internet on his computer watching, like, the names come. He’s like, ‘Oh, Brian Lee,’ who I was going to room with the next year at North Dakota, you know, ‘He got drafted…’ and I was like, ‘Oh, sweet, like you know, good for him.'”
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As Olimb kept track of the picks online, he suddenly saw his friend’s name come up on the web after the St. Louis Blues drafted him 24th overall. Oshie didn’t completely capture the magnitude of it, though he’d always dreamt of playing in the NHL.
“And he’s like, ‘Oh my God, you’re drafted, you’re drafted.’ And I was like, ‘Alright, dude, man, like, show’s on,'” Oshie explained.
Quickly, though, Oshie realized that he’d have to do press and start to get to know his new NHL team. As someone unfamiliar with the league, he had some studying to do and quickly got online and started doing some research. At first, though, he did what he could to get by when it came to addressing the media.
“I had to do a bunch of interviews and stuff and kind of be pretty vague about which players I wanted to play with because I didn’t really know who was on the Blues at the time,” he added.
The 35-year-old has come a long way since then, as he’s in the midst of his 15th NHL season and eighth with the Capitals (he spent seven with St. Louis before being traded to D.C. in 2016). In 917 career games, he has 275 goals and 369 assists for 644 points. He currently has 11 points in 17 games to open 2022-23 with Washington.