Washington Capitals: T.J. Oshie Fitting In With Capitals


Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Oshie has been showing the Washington Capitals why they were right to trade for him as he has impressed many during the preseason. 

T.J. Oshie spent the first seven years of his career with the St. Louis Blues before being traded to the Washington Capitals. The Washington Capitals gave up Troy Brouwer, goaltending prospect Pheonix Copley, and a 2016 third-round draft pick for the 28-year-old wing. One of the first things he remarked after being traded was that he was excited to be able to play with Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom

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Though he admitted that it was nerve-wracking to come into an entirely new locker room, and thus try and learn a new system in a different conference, Oshie has already delivered on some of the excitement he brought to the team and the fans.

MORE FROM STARS AND STICKS: Watch Oshie Score First Goal With Caps

Oshie was been impressive in the preseeason. Most veteran players are just looking to knock the rust of and get into game shape during the preseason. Oshie has done that and more. His first goal came against Montreal. It was an impressive display of speed and stick handling as Oshie gathered the puck near the red line, blew through the defense and sniped one past the goaltender from the slot on a semi-breakaway.

Oshie scored on a beautiful backhand shot later in the game. In Wednesday night’s shootout loss against Carolina, Oshie once again displayed his soft hands as he absolutely undressed goaltender Eddie Lack in the extra session for another shootout marker.

Friday night against the Boston Bruins, Oshie was given a chance to show his moves off yet again. He didn’t score in regulation. However, the Washington Capitals forced the game into overtime after a late goal by Ovechkin (that Oshie got an assist on) to tie the game. Oshie scored the game-winning shootout goal in the first round of the shootout.

Oshie had has finest preseason game for the Washington Capitals on Sunday against the New York Islanders. He had a goal to go along with three assists. The first forward line dominated that game. Oshie was a huge reason for that.

The biggest worry for a newcomer like Oshie would be that maybe he would try and do too much as he tries to validate the excitement and hope that came with him in the trade. This does not seem to be the case. As far as most of us can tell, minding the limited opportunity to actually catch a preseason game broadcast on television, Oshie is doing just what Washington Capitals fans expected.

The first line of Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, and Oshie that was iced against Boston is what we will likely see as long as Backstrom is out. They were lights out in the preseason trials together. The Washington Capitals trio combined for 12 shots on goal and posted outstanding possession numbers. Kuznetsov and Ovechkin posted an even-strength CF% of 54%.

Oshie one-upped his linemates with a CF of 56%. This small sample size provides yet another reason to be excited. It shows that Oshie is on the same page with his new teammates. It is worth noting that he has a career CF% of 52.9%. It’s safe to expect big things from Oshie if the chemistry keeps developing.

Though not known for being a fighter by any means, he even showed a tough side against Boston. After delivering a clean, hard check to Adam McQuaid on the forecheck, he dropped the gloves, and did what he could against a more seasoned fighter than himself. It’s not something that anyone should want to see from him on any kind of regular basis, but it is clear he doesn’t plan on backing down when confronted.

One area where Oshie could fare to improve is in the face-off dot on the man advantage. He will be essentially replacing Brouwer’s former role on the Washington Capitals’ league-leading power play. Brouwer’s job was to simply to win faceoffs on the right side and then get to the front of the net. Brouwer posted a very impressive 56.9 FO% in all situations even though most of those came on the power play against the opposition’s top penalty killing units. Of course, someone else could win face-offs.

Though the full first unit has not gotten much time together over the preseason (none at all if you consider Backstrom’s absence), Oshie has won 38.5% of his faceoffs. which is a noticeable decrease. His career FO% is just 42.7, but that could improve as time goes on.

Oshie has looked and played the part of a guy just playing within himself and not trying to do too much. He has dazzled Washington Capitals fans with his beautiful shootout moves several times already. He has shown he can be a dangerous but responsible all-around player.

There is a whole lot of reason for optimism for the Capitals. T.J. Oshie will be a big part of that. He might even be ahead of schedule for where we thought he might be this early on.

Next: Oshie Is A Huge Upgrade Over Brouwer

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