Over the weekend, Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported on Sirius Radio’s Two Man Advantage that a new contract between TJ Oshie and the Capitals was “all but done”. A source with knowledge of the negotiations would not confirm Shannon’s report, but told RMNB that there was “mutual interest to get a deal done.”
On Tuesday, we got Brian MacLellan’s take.
Speaking to the press for the first time since the Caps season ended against the Pittsburgh Penguins, MacLellan reiterated his desire to bring Oshie back, but tailed back just how far along negotiations were.
“I like Oshie,” MacLellan said according to CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Tarik El-Bashir. “Of the UFAs, he’s a good fit. It’s going to depend on what the salary cap number is, plus what he’s looking for.”
According to the Caps GM, the salary cap number will play a big role on how the Capitals tackle the offseason. The 2017-18 cap number will either be $73 or $77 million, depending on if the NHLPA chooses to use its 5% escalator. The NHL is meeting with the NHLPA later this week to discuss the issue.
MacLellan would go on to say that the two sides have not discussed anything “specific as far as term and money,” but believed the team had a good chance to re-sign Osh Babe if the NHLPA chooses to raise the cap.
The Capitals, who have 11 restricted and unrestricted free agents, will first focus on re-signing its young stars like Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Dmitry Orlov, and Nate Schmidt. But in a one-on-one interview with Mike Vogel, MacLellan was confident one of the team’s UFAs would be back.
“As far as the unrestricted market, we happen to have all of the best UFAs available,” MacLellan said. “Oshie, Williams, Shattenkirk, and Alzner – those are the top free agents that are available out there. It will be interesting to see how that market evolves. We’ll probably be able to sign one of them, it would appear at this point, but we’ll see how that pans out.”
Oshie has spoke glowingly about his time with the franchise and reiterated in his final press conference with reporters that he’d like to be back.
“Yes,” Oshie said when asked if he’d like to return on Breakdown Day. “This group of guys, this organization, coaches, it’s been a great fit for me, my family, so I’d like to be back here.”
“I don’t like change too much,” Oshie added.
The popular Oshie, who led the team in goals along with Alex Ovechkin (33), will be 31-years-old in 2017-18. He is coming off a five-year, $20.9 million contract he originally signed with St. Louis which paid him $4.175 annually. Oshie scored on a career high 23.1 precent of his shots last season (approximately 10% higher than his career average). He could make $6 million a year or more on his next contract.
If the Capitals re-sign Oshie, they could accommodate his salary better if they move Brooks Orpik’s contract. While MacLellan said that an offseason trade is possible, the team will not be buying out any of its players during the offseason.
Photos: Bruce Bennett/Claus Andersen
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