T.J. Oshie has been traded to Washington for a package including Troy Brouwer.
It had been rumoured for a while now that St. Louis would be moving a winger, and the likely target would be T.J. Oshie. That trade finally went down today as Oshie was traded to Washington in exchange for Troy Brouwer, prospect goalie Pheonix Copley, and a third round pick next year. Brouwer has one year left and carries a cap hit of $3.66-million, with Oshie having two years left at $4.175 per season. It saves the Blues some money, and every dollar is going to become important with Vladimir Tarasenko still needing to be signed, Jaden Schwartz a restricted free agent next year, and David Backes an unrestricted free agent after next season as well.
This move for Washington comes less than 24 hours after signing Justin Williams, which I wrote about earlier today. With Williams and Oshie having two years on their respective deals, it gives a window for the Capitals (and their fans) to really expect a Cup push. This team rebounded under coach Barry Trotz, and now has two full top two lines, a good mix of youth and experience on the blue line, and a goalie who is starting to push his way into elite company.
One weak spot for the Capitals over the years had been right wing. There was never really that third piece to round out the top line. It’s always been Backstrom-Ovechkin-Just a Guy. Now with Williams and Oshie, this team has two legitimate top-six right wingers, something that should help strengthen the bottom of the roster as well as other skilled players are pushed down the depth chart.
Let’s start with Browuer.
This is a winger who goes to the Blues and should figure in to their top-six forward mix. Tarasenko is obviously at the top of the heap, but after that it’s a little bit more wide open. Dmitrij Jaskin is someone that started growing on me as far as potential fantasy production is concerned, but at least to start the year, it looks like he’ll be back in St. Louis’ bottom-six. That limits Jaskin’s upside for now.
One thing to remember about Brouwer is that a lot of his fantasy value came because of power play points. He had 37 over the last two seasons, and 16 in the lockout-shortened season. He played a lot on the top unit with Ovechkin, helping inflate those numbers.
St. Louis has had a top-10 power play by efficiency each of the last two seasons. Oshie was pretty good at drawing penalties so the Blues will miss a bit. With that said, I’m not sure Brouwer’s value falls off a lot here. The biggest concern I have is him not playing in St. Louis’ top-six. That question won’t be answered for months, and would mean good things for Jaskin if not.
On a per minute basis, Oshie has produced at a first line rate over the last four years, so that’s what the Caps will be getting here: a player who can put up 60 points. I do think in general that Oshie is a bit overrated, namely because the individual skill has never matched production. This is a player who will be in his Age 29 season next year with one (1) 20-goal season to his name, and a career-high of 60 points. A 55-60 point season is nothing to sneeze at, but this isn’t Kessel going to Pittsburgh, either.
I think where Oshie’s value increases is that he can put up 25 power play points next year if he’s on the top unit (which would, in all likelihood, mean Justin Williams on the second unit). Even 20 power play points would set a career high for him, and help his value a lot.
For both players, their value will largely be tied to their spot in the lineup. Oshie needs to be on the top power play unit, and Brouwer needs to be in the top-six for St. Louis. These things won’t be cleared up until September or October, so I’m keeping expectations tempered for now.
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