T.J. Oshie

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Trotz: Re-signing Oshie was 'the highest priority' for the Caps

Trotz: Re-signing Oshie was 'the highest priority' for the Caps

CHICAGO—As excited as Barry Trotz was about retaining T.J. Oshie’s goal production, he was just as pleased to keep all the intangibles the 30-year-old brings to Washington's lineup. 

“For us, that was the highest priority,” Trotz said of re-signing Oshie. “Obviously, Osh means a lot to us.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps locked up the high-scoring winger to an eight-year, $46 million contract extension. 

“I think it sends a great message to not only our team [but] our fans,” Trotz said. “You see what Osh did the last two years. He’s a big part of our culture, a big part of our success.”

RELATED: Caps made 'a couple of good' offers but to keep Schmidt

Oshie has put up back-to-back career highs in goals, scoring 26 in 2015-16 and 33 last season. He’s also a lead-by-example type who plays bigger than his 6-foot, 189-pounds.

“He’s a guy that brings energy,” Trotz said. “He’s a guy that consistently brings a high compete level, a high execution level and a relentless attitude. That’s Osh.”

The Caps now have four of their top-6 forwards from last season under contract, with Oshie joining Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson. Restricted free agent Evgeny Kuznetsov, meantime, is expected to re-sign, while Andre Burakovsky figures to round out the top two lines. Burakovsky is also a restricted free agent.

“We knew we were going to lose some guys,” Trotz said. “We still feel we’re going to be a high-scoring team. Obviously Osh had a career year last year. We’re hoping that he can build on that and have other people step in and fill some roles.”

MORE CAPITALS: MacLellan: Caps likely done signing own UFAs

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Think the Caps' Stanley Cup window has closed? T.J. Oshie doesn't

Think the Caps' Stanley Cup window has closed? T.J. Oshie doesn't

There were three things T.J. Oshie was looking for when it came to his next contract, he told reporters on a conference call Friday. He wanted security, he wanted a family friendly destination and he wanted to go "somewhere that has a realistic chance at winning a Stanley Cup."

Security? Check. He got security both in term with eight years and money with $46 million.

Family friendly? Check. Oshie's wife and family love Washington and his daughter Lyla seems to be very happy to see them stay put in Washington.

A chance to win a Cup? Well, depending on who you ask, this one is debatable.

RELATED: Re-signing Oshie was 'the highest priority' for Caps

The Capitals have reached the end of the two-year championship window that was self-imposed by general manager Brian MacLellan. With several free agents expected to be leaving Washington as well as the sudden departure of Nate Schmidt thanks to the expansion draft, Washington will not likely boast a team as good or as deep as last year.

But Oshie doesn't think that means the Caps have missed their chance.

"I have no doubt in my mind that we'll be able to win a cup here in the next couple of years," Oshie said.

Washington may well ice a very good team next season, but there are a lot of questions they have to answer first. How do they replace Nate Schmidt? How much money will they have left after they re-sign their restricted free agents? Are the younger players and prospects ready for an increased role? 

We do not have the answer to those questions yet and neither does Oshie. That made digging into what the team's plans are for this offseason part of the negotiation process.

"I think that was one of the questions was with the free agents that we have, who was going to be able to come back?" Oshie said. "Who were they going to be able to fit in? I think everyone understands that, just from a salary cap this year, we're not going to be able to keep everyone back so it's going to be a little bit of a different look, but I think for the most part the nucleus is still there."

When evaluating Washington's roster, Oshie ultimately reached the same conclusion as MacLellan after the season: The Caps' core group is still good enough to make a championship run.

"I've been a part of the history now for the last couple of years," Oshie said. "I understand that we've fallen short, but I don't think anyone can deny that when you look at our roster, if we play together how we should and how we can, there's no reason we wouldn't be in those top couple teams that have a chance to win a Stanley Cup."

MORE CAPITALS: Caps made 'a couple of good' offers but to keep Schmidt

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T.J. Oshie re-signs with Caps in long-term deal

T.J. Oshie re-signs with Caps in long-term deal

The Capitals won't have to worry about their biggest pending free agent anymore. T.J. Oshie signed an eight-year, $46 million contract that will carry a cap hit of $5.75 million per year to remain with Washington, the team announced Friday.

With one fan favorite on his way to Vegas in Nate Schmidt, the Capitals made sure to keep another fan favorite in Oshie. Acquired by the Caps in 2015 via a trade with the St. Louis Blues, Oshie was tied for the team lead in goals last season with 33. In two years with Washington, he has scored 59 goals and 107 points, solidifying his place as the right wing on the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

“T.J. is an invaluable member of our team and we felt it was imperative for us to re-sign him in a competitive free agent market,” said general manager Brian MacLellan. “T.J. is a highly competitive player with a tremendous skill set; he epitomizes the kind of player our team must have in order for us to continue to put ourselves in a position to compete in this League.”

Re-signing Oshie is a bit of a surprise for a Capitals team that was facing major cap constraints this offseason. As one of the top free agents available, Oshie could certainly have made more money on the open market. Instead, the Caps managed to keep him with a very long-term deal.

At 30 years old, Oshie will be 38 years old when the new contract expires. So while the Capitals were able to sign him for less money than perhaps many expected, the tradeoff was a much longer contract.

With Oshie re-signed and the Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky and Dmitry Orlov all restricted free agents in need of new deals, this likely means the end of Justin Williams and Karl Alzner's time in Washington.

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