According to Sportsnet’s John Shannon in an interview on Sirius XM Radio, T.J. Oshie’s agent has all but finalized a deal with the Washington Capitals. Considering that Oshie was a top-three UFA forward heading into this off-season, nearing a signing with cash-strapped Washington comes as a bit of a surprise. Oshie had previously stated his desire to remain in America’s capital city, but players are often pushed out in situations such as these. RFA Evgeny Kuznetsov was obviously going to take precedence over the older Oshie, and allotting him cap dollars seemed to place the writing on the wall for T.J.
If he were to return at a discount, it’s difficult to see a player of his caliber making anywhere under $5 MM on a multi-year deal. Perhaps he does less to accommodate his team’s management, but it is quite rare that we see a player take a paycut of more than a million or so. What must be considered is that this is also the crafty Oshie’s opportunity to cash in financially on a career year. It was indeed his fourth straight season breaking 50 points, but only his first with over 30 goals. A lot of that has to do with his unsustainable season shooting percentage of 23.1%, an absurd figure for any player. As an offensive force in an exceptionally poor UFA summer, his value is likely never to be higher.
For the Capitals, if they are able to accommodate him in their internal structure, it would mean quite a few changes coming elsewhere in the lineup. Karl Alzner would be all but guaranteed to move on from the organization, and Kuznetsov’s negotiations may become more heated in hopes of driving price down. Justin Williams was already nearly assured to be on his way to a bidding war in free agency, but this development would virtually secure that fate. It could also imply that a trade of a bigger contract is under consideration by the organization, although the rumblings of potential transactions have thus far been mere conjecture. GM Brian MacLellan will certainly have some shuffling ahead if he hopes to ice a balanced team before next season.