The Key Stat: .670. It is the special player who makes a difference over the long run. T.J. Oshie does not appear on many, if any leader boards among NHL statistical categories, but his presence had an effect – whether coincidental or correlational – on Caps’ fortunes this season. They were 26-11-7 when Oshie was in the lineup, a .670 points percentage, and just 18-15-5, a .539 points percentage, when he was in the press box. Hence the impressive 87 percent WAR and ability to finish noted above.
The Good: Oshie’s start. Thinks looked quite promising as he started his 14th season in the league. He was 4-2-6 in his first seven games while the Caps were going 4-0-3. Even after missing 16 of the next 17 games with a lower body injury, he returned to go a respectable 1-5-6 over ten games, a combined 5-8-13 over his first 18 games, a 23-36-59 pace over 82 games that would challenge his career bests in assists and points (39 and 60, respectively, in 79 games with St. Louis in 2013-2014).
The Bad: The injuries. Ten games, lower body injury. Six games, foot injury. One game, COVID. Three games, illness. Fourteen games, upper body injury. Four games, lower body injury. And that is just this season. All in all, he missed 38 games to injury. The injuries would play a role in Oshie logging the second lowest ice time per game of his career (17:27, surpassing only the 16:35 he logged per game in his rookie season with St. Louis in 2008-2009) and the worst plus-minus rating of his career (minus-12). He also could not generate any scoring momentum, a three-game points streak being his longest of the season, and even that straddling an injury absence. He did not score goals in consecutive games all season and recorded almost half of his total goal output for the season in two games – a hat trick in Ottawa in October and a two-goal game in Edmonton in March. One has to think the injuries had a significant role in the change in even strength and power play percentile ranks compared to last season.
The Discussion: Can Oshie, who will turn 36 years of age in December, play his rough-and-tumble style and be a durable player, or is his style, and the risk it has for games missed the price the Caps must pay for his effectiveness when he is in the lineup? How many games can he missed until his $5.75 million cap hit becomes too much of a burden for the team in 2022-2023? The 17:27 in ice time per game was the second-lowest of his career and lowest since he skated 16:35 per game as a rookie with St. Louis in 2008-2009. Is this the beginning of a new role with the club, or can he return to being the 18:24 per game player he was in his first six seasons in Washington? And finally, what would it take for you to give Oshie a 10 next season?
The Vote: Rate T.J. Oshie below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
How do you rate T.J. Oshie’s 2021-22 season?