For the last year, TJ Oshie’s name has been bandied about as a possible selection for the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 Expansion Draft. But as time has passed, a possible split between Oshie and the Capitals seems less and less likely as it appears GM Brian MacLellan plans to protect the fan-favorite forward in the draft.
“We’re gonna try and resist exposing Osh,” MacLellan said in late May. “I think he’s a big part of what we’ve done and he’s had a good year here. He’s a big part of our locker room. He’s a big part of our on-ice team. He brings energy every day. He brings a compete level. He makes everybody better that’s around him.
During the American Century Championship earlier this week, Oshie was asked if the Capitals had spoken to him about the draft.
“No. Not so far,” Oshie said to NBC Sports Washington. “Just our normal exit meetings with [head coach Peter Laviolette] and [general manager Brian MacLellan].
“I’m a Capital,” he added. “That’s where I’d like to be, that’s where I’d like to stay. I will tell you this though, I think Hak does an amazing job at building culture and tradition and I can’t think of a better guy to start with an organization from the ground up and really bring that culture and tradition to Seattle. He’s so good at bringing teams together and making players play for each other.”
Hakstol, who was hired to be the Kraken’s first head coach in team history, was Oshie’s bench boss in college where he first became a star.
Oshie is coming off one of his best years pro despite being 34. The Capitals forward scored 22 goals in 53 games during the 2020-21 regular season and was on pace to score 34 times – a career-high. He was also on pace to tally a career-high of 66 points (43p in 53g). Since arriving in the district in 2015, Oshie has scored 20 or more goals in five of his six seasons in Washington.
During his Breakdown Day interview with Capitals media, Oshie was emphatic that he wanted to remain with the Caps and that being a captain in the NHL – what he’d possibly be if he was selected by Seattle – was not something that interested him.
“I guess I’ve given thought to the possibility (of being selected by Seattle),” Oshie said. “My allegiance is here. I’ve done, I feel like, as much as I can to prove this is where I want to be. I’ve got family out there. That’s great, but Washington’s where I want to be. I’ve bled and cried here. This is where I want to stay long term. People can speculate and make assumptions about what I want to do or what I like. People bring up the ‘C.’ That stuff is not that important to me. This is where I want to be with my buddies, with my family. My kids are growing up here. This is where I love to play hockey.
“I signed an eight-year deal here because this is where I wanted to spend the rest of my career and retire here,” Oshie added.
The Capitals will be able to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie or eight skaters and one goalie for the Expansion Draft.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB
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