The Washington Capitals agreed to terms on an eight-year, 46 million-dollar contract with the T.J. Oshie on Friday.
Oshie, could have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and would have been able to begin discussions with interested teams on Sunday. He was hoping that he would be able to stay in the Nation’s Capital.
Oshie said, “I sat down with my agent and told him that I really liked Washington and that it was somewhere that I would like to re-sign at. From there, it was just kind of a waiting game. Talks just got going, and really heated up in the last couple of days. So, I was kind of a nervous wreck for a while, [but] everything worked exactly how I wanted it to, and I really could not be happier with staying and re-signing.”
After the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association had agreed to set the salary cap at 75 million dollars this past week, is when Capitals general manager, Brian MacLellan noted that the contract talks began to pick up. MacLellan did not want Oshie getting to the open market and signed away by one of the other 30 clubs.
He added, “I think if we did not get it done before July 1, we might have gotten in a little trouble. You look at the free agent market for scoring wingers and it is pretty thin this year, and I would assume he would be one of the number one or two targets. I think he could have maybe gotten more money if he totally went to free agency.”
His new deal carries an annual average salary cap hit of 5.75 million-dollars, third highest on the Capitals, behind Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom’s 6.7 million each. Oshie tied Ovechkin for the team scoring lead with a career high, 33 goals in 68 games. His 56 points fell just shy of his career high of 60, which he scored during the 2013-2014 season with the St. Louis Blues.
The Blues first round draft pick, 24th overall in 2005, has scored 169 goals and 248 assists in 591 regular season games. He has added 15 goals and 16 assists in 55 postseason battles.
Capitals coach, Barry Trotz said, “It sends a great message to not only our team, [but also] our fans. Oshie you see what he did the last two years. I think he is a big part of our culture, a big part of our success. So, I think it was a huge signing.”
With just over 19 million in cap space, and 12 guys under contract, after signing the guy nicknamed, “T.J. Sochi” after his shootout ability against the Russian during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, MacLellan does not feel the Capitals will be able to re-sign defensemen, Kevin Shattenkirk and Karl Alzner and forwards, Justin Wiliams and Daniel Winnik.
He is working to the resign restricted free agents for the organization. Forwards, Andre Burakovsky, Brett Connolly and Evgeny Kuznetsov, defenseman Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Philipp Grubauer are all RFA’s. Grubauer, Orlov, Burakovsky and Kuznetsov are due significant raises which will leave little wriggle room for many other free agents.