On this day six years ago today, the Washington Capitals acquired one of their most important assets: T.J. Oshie.
Prior to the 2015-16 campaign, Washington traded forward Troy Brouwer, goaltender Pheonix Copley (now back in D.C.) and a 2016 third-rounder to St. Louis for Oshie. He was most famous for his shootout heroics in the 2014 Winter Olympics but was also notable for his strong contributions on offense and solid two-way play.
Since then, Oshie’s been a cornerstone of the Capitals organization. Through 413 games in the District, the 34-year-old has 150 goals and 300 points, including 56 power-play markers (tied for eighth all-time in franchise history). He’s also posted at least 20 goals in his last three campaigns and serves as an alternate captain.
Not only that, but he played a major role in helping lead Washington to its first-ever Stanley Cup championship.
There have been questions as to whether or not the team will expose Oshie to Seattle for the Expansion Draft, but given his impact, it appears unlikely. In fact, general manager Brian MacLellan even admitted that losing Oshie to the Kraken would “hurt,” while Oshie himself said he wants to finish his career as a Cap.
READ MORE ON WHN: Who will the Capitals protect in the Expansion Draft?
“My allegiance is here. I’ve done, I feel like, as much as I can to prove this is where I want to be…” the Washington State native said in his exit interview. “This is where I’ve bled and cried and everything here. This where I want to stay long-term… this is where I want to be with my buddies, with my family, my kids are growing up in schools here. This is where I love to play hockey.”
A picture worth a thousand words. TJ Oshie lifts the Stanley cup with his father who is battling alzheimer's pic.twitter.com/TJSPtrQer8
— HockeyPerks (@HockeyPerks) June 8, 2018
Over time, Oshie’s also proven himself to be a versatile and coachable player who’s unafraid to leave his comfort zone. This past season, he was tasked with playing center, an unfamiliar role but one he was more than happy to take on nonetheless.
“T.J. is whatever you ask, whatever it takes. There is never a ‘yeah, but’ or ‘I can’t,’ or ‘are you sure?’ It’s always, ‘yep, no problem…’ that’s the ultimate teammate,” head coach Peter Laviolette said of Oshie.
Off the ice, he’s a vocal leader and a positive presence in the locker room. His personality and energy appear to rub off on his teammates, who continuously admire his impact. He also dedicates a lot of his time and effort to the hockey community and beyond. He founded Warroad in 2018, a “hockey company renowned for its uncompromising focus on player performance, safety and recovery.”
Oshie also helped raise awareness and money to fight Alzheimer’s Disease following his father and coach, Tim’s, struggles with the disease. Tim passed away in early May, and in his first game back, Oshie paid tribute with an emotional hat trick.
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) May 6, 2021
“I think I told him, like, ‘You’re the strongest person I know,'” teammate Nicklas Backstrom said following his performance.
It’s easy to see that the trade paid off big time for Washington. Oshie has become the heart of the team and a vital part of the winning culture.