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T.J. Oshie talks new house, new wife, new team

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T.J. Oshie talks new house, new wife, new team

Aside from selling a house, building a house, finding a house, redeeming himself on the golf course, getting married and mending the hearts of 5-year-old girls, Timothy Leif Oshie hasn’t had much excitement this summer.

On Saturday, the Capitals’ newly acquired 28-year-old right wing introduced himself to more than 2,500 fans at the club’s annual Fan Fest at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Next weekend he will try to erase the memories of four-putting from seven feet away in last year’s American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe.

The week after that he will tie the knot with University of North Dakota sweetheart Lauren Cosgrove.

We’ll let Oshie fill you in on the rest:

On learning he had been traded from the St. Louis Blues for Troy Brouwer, Pheonix Copley and a third-round draft pick:

It was a little surreal. There’s been excitement since those first couple hours. We went to St. Louis for a couple days and tried to pack up the house as quick as we could. We flew back to Minnesota, then flew out here. It’s been pretty busy, but now that I’m here it’s great to be here. I’m excited. I met a lot of people in the organization, texted with some of the players, so it’s been very welcoming here.

On what he remembers about facing the Capitals:

This team is ready to win, it looks like. I’m happy to be an addition to that and be a piece of the puzzle. Meeting the coaching staff, I’m very excited. They actually got me fired up. I’m hoping the season would start a little early talking to them yesterday. It’s really exciting for me right now.

On switching his jersey from No. 74, which belongs to John Carlson, to No. 77:

Carly actually texted me and asked me what number I was going to be choosing. I think I’ve played a couple more games (443) than him (398). I took his number at the Olympics, so I figured he could keep it here. I wore 7 in college. My daughter was born on the 17th and I thought that would be an option, but I went with 77.

On seeing so many fans wanting his autograph:

Just from looking at Twitter, fans have been very welcoming, just adding to the excitement for me to be here. I was always supported very well in St. Louis and it looks like Washington is doing the same.

On seeing the video of 5-year-old Libby Lu crying over his departure from St. Louis:

I actually saw a couple different ones, so when (ESPN) approached me, right away I didn’t know which little girl it was. You kind of get sad looking at that and thinking about the past seven years in St. Louis and things that I’ve accomplished, but I’m looking forward to a new chapter and hopefully Libby can transfer over and become a Caps fan.

On the similarities of the Blues and Capitals’ quest for an elusive Stanley Cup:

I don’t think I’ve been in town for too long, so I’m not sure what the feeling is here. I know in St. Louis the fans are getting a little restless and I’m sure the fans here want a Cup just as bad. Hopefully, this will be the year we can bring it to them.

On his first impressions of Barry Trotz:

It’s been great. He obviously loves the game. You can tell that he loves his team, loves his players, loves his coaches. It’s going to be great to play for him and I’m excited to build that relationship.

On how his experience in the 2014 Winter Olympics changed how people view him:

I don’t know if it really changed me too much. After a couple months went by everything kind of cooled down. A lot of people started looking at me for just shootouts after that, which I guess made sense a little bit. But I like to bring a little bit more than that to the table as far as my game goes. Hopefully, I can improve on that. I feel like my best years are still coming up here, so hopefully this year can be one of those years.

On the remainder of his summer:

I think we’ve got our minds set on a place. Right now it’s still kind of up in the air. We’re getting married in a couple weeks, so that’s the main focus right now. After that, just continuing my workouts up in Minnesota and hopefully I’ll be here around Sept. 1.

On wedding plans:

Wedding planning’s hard. We’re building a house (just south of St. Paul, Minn.) as well right now. We move in on the 20th (of July) and the wedding is on the 25th. So busy times. It’s exciting. I can’t wait to get here. I’m going to enjoy this summer and obviously enjoy the wedding and the new house but I’m excited for the next chapter.

On seeing Troy Brouwer at Kettler on Friday:

I guess it’s a little awkward, but it’s part of the business. We’re both pretty mature about it. We talked. He was just getting off the ice and I said hi to him. We’ve been texting each other, talking about the possibility of renting our houses and things like that. I don’t think either of us were asking for a trade, but it happened and it’s going to be a new chapter.

On where he might fit into the Caps’ lineup:

There’s been a little communication on that. Obviously, losing Wardo (Joel Ward) and Brouwer was tough for the organization and the team. They are two big players who played big minutes. So I’m looking to step in and hopefully take up some of those minutes and be a difference maker right away.

On becoming teammates with Justin Williams:

He seems like a great guy and a great teammate. He comes up in big games which is nice to have on your side. I think we’re both really excited to step into a team that’s a great contender to go deep into the playoffs next year.

On how he would describe the way he plays and what it was like to face Williams:

I’d say I’m a pretty all-around player. I like the defensive side of the puck just as much as the offensive side. I’m confident in my abilities on the power play, on the penalty kill, late in games, in tough situations, whether we’re up a man or down a man. Me, personally, I like to run around (and hit opponents). I may not always have my best game every night, but I’ll work as hard as I can every night.

As far as (Williams’) game, he seems like he’s a similar player. Maybe he doesn’t run around and hit quite as much, but he can do some pretty cool things with the puck. It seems when the games get going and the suspense gets high he calms down and plays cool and collective. So it will be nice to have someone like that on our side.

MORE CAPITALS: LEONSIS SPEAKS ON OVECHKIN AND CAPS

  

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The Capitals were mentioned on Jeopardy! and of course we're proud of it

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The Capitals were mentioned on Jeopardy! and of course we're proud of it

The Stanley Cup no longer resides in Washington, and all eyes have shifted toward the offseason as the Capitals look to retool for next season. But, that doesn't mean we can't stop and appreciate the magical 2018 season now and again.

A week after reminiscing about the championship run and ensuing parade, the famous game show "Jeopardy!" gave us one more moment of glory on Monday night.

One of the clues featured in the latest episode had the Capitals as the answer and even featured Alexander Ovechkin.

It appears that one of the contestants did answer it correctly. More importantly, according to the replies, it was also cleared up that no one brought up the Pittsburgh Penguins during that round. 

While it may be somewhat hard to cope with the fact that the Capitals will not be enjoying another offseason of championship partying in 2019 we can take pride in the fact that the question was about the Caps winning the Stanley Cup, and not centered around a dreaded title drought.

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Looking back at the Capitals’ 2014 NHL Draft: When is trading up not worth it?

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Looking back at the Capitals’ 2014 NHL Draft: When is trading up not worth it?

The NHL Draft takes place on June 21 and 22. The Capitals hold the 25th overall pick and will be looking for future stars among all the hopeful prospects.

But just how successful has Washington been in finding those stars? How much value have the Caps found through the draft?

NBC Sports Washington will be looking at how Washington has drafted over the last 10 years. Today’s draft: 2014

13th overall pick (first round): Jakub Vrana F

Vrana was the last forward the Caps have taken in the first round of the draft, and in him, they got a good one. Vrana came to North America at the end of his SHL season in 2015, playing in three games with the Hershey Bears. He reached the NHL in the 2016-17 season for 21 games, and then he was back with the Caps to stay in the 2017-18 season.

In his final season with the Bears, Vrana was benched in the playoffs, and it seemed he had mentally moved on to the NHL. Some criticism over his work ethic sprung up again this summer during his time playing for his native Czech Republic at the World Championships. From what we have seen in Washington, however, nothing could be further from the truth.

Vrana is one of the hardest workers on the team and is always one of the last players off the ice every day at practice. This is not something the players have told us, this is something I have personally witnessed at Medstar Capitals Iceplex. He has the speed and skill to be a top-6 player, and his numbers back that up.

In 176 NHL games, Vrana has 40 goals and 40 assists and has cemented his spot in the top two lines in Washington.

39th overall pick (second round): Vitek Vanecek G

Washington moved up in the draft to snag Vanecek in the second round, giving up their second- and third-round picks to the Buffalo Sabres to move up five spots.

Vanecek is often overshadowed by fellow goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov, and though the ceiling does not ultimately appear to be as high, he is doing his best to show he still has NHL potential. Vanecek’s North American career began in the 2015-16 season which he spent mainly in South Carolina in the ECHL. He has spent the last three seasons in Hershey and was named an AHL all-star in 2018-19.

Playing in tandem with Samsonov, Vanecek had the better season but also looks to be much closer to being developed. I would project his ceiling to be as an NHL backup.

44th overall pick (second round): Traded to the Buffalo Sabres

This pick was traded to Buffalo as part of the Vanecek deal. They took forward Eric Cornel who, at 23, is still trying to break into the NHL after 216 games in the AHL.

74th overall pick (third round): Traded to the Buffalo Sabres

This pick was traded to Buffalo as part of the Vanecek deal. The Sabres took defenseman Brycen Martin whose NHL prospects look grim at this point as he continues playing in the ECHL with only 19 games in the AHL. He did not play in the AHL at all in 2018-19.

89th pick (third round): Nathan Walker F

The Caps made Walker the first Australian taken in the draft in NHL history. Walker had already played a year in Hershey, so the team had some familiarity with him, which is why it was willing to trade up to get him. Washington traded two fourth-round picks to the New York Rangers to acquire this pick.

Since then, he has spent the last five seasons playing primarily with the Bears with seven games up in Washington.

Walker is a good AHL player and a possible fit as an NHL fourth liner.

104th overall pick (fourth round): Traded to New York Rangers

This pick was traded to New York as part of the Walker deal. The Rangers used it to select defenseman Ryan Mantha. His career is in jeopardy after a blood clot damaged his central retinal artery and affected his vision in his left eye.

115th overall pick (fourth round): Acquired from the Anaheim Ducks, traded back to the Anaheim Ducks

In 2013, Washington traded Mathieu Perreault to Anaheim for John Mitchell and a fourth-round pick. The Caps traded this pick back to Anaheim in 2014 for Dustin Penner. The pick was then traded to the Dallas Stars, who took goalie Brent Moran.

Moran played four seasons in the OHL and now currently plays for Nipissing University. He seems like a longshot to reach the NHL at this point.

118th overall pick (fourth round): Acquired from the New York Islanders, traded to the New York Rangers

This pick was traded to the Rangers as part of the Walker deal. The Caps originally acquired this pick from the New York Islanders for goalie Jaroslav Halak. The Rangers took goalie Igor Shestyorkin. He has not yet played in North America, but his numbers in the KHL are outrageous. Last season playing for SKA St. Petersburg, he had a 1.11 GAA and .953 save percentage in 28 games. He is expected to play in the AHL with Hartford next season.

134th overall pick (fifth round): Shane Gersich F

After three years at the University of North Dakota, Gersich signed a professional contract near the end of the 2017-18 season and jumped right in the NHL, playing in five games for the Caps in the regular season and playoffs combined. He spent his second professional season in Hershey where he scored eight goals and 16 assists in 66 games.

Gersich is a fast winger who can be a bottom-six NHL forward, but still needs a bit more time to develop to get there.

159th overall pick (sixth round): Steven Spinner F

The Caps acquired this pick and goalie Edward Pasquale in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets for a sixth- and two seventh-round picks.

Spinner played four years in college but did not hold out for free agency and signed a professional contract. He played two total games with the Hershey Bears at the end of the 2018-19 season.

164th overall pick (sixth round): Traded to the Winnipeg Jets

Traded to the Jets in the deal mentioned above. The Jets used it on forward Pavel Kraskovsky who is still playing in the KHL.

192nd overall pick (seventh round): Acquired from the Nashville Predators, traded to the Winnipeg jets

Traded to the Jets in the deal mentioned above. The Jets used it on forward Matt Ustaski. He played four years in the University of Wisconsin and has played in one AHL game and 21 total ECHL games since going pro.

194th overall pick (seventh round): Kevin Elgestal F

Elgestal has spent his hockey career playing in Sweden. He played a few preseason games with the Caps but really seemed to struggle. The Caps no longer hold his NHL rights.

Takeaways

The Caps traded up to get Vanecek in the second round and Walker in the third. If you have been following along with these draft profiles, you have probably noticed by now that it is really hard to find value later in the draft. If you can find a player you like in the first three rounds and it will only take lower draft picks to get there, you do it because you probably are not losing very much.

Having said that, goalies are a bit different and typically slip down in the draft. When you trade up to take a goalie in the second round, that means you believe you have found a bonafide NHL starter. That’s probably not what they have in Vanecek, That third-round pick Washington traded away came five spots before Brayden Point was taken by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Point flew under everyone’s radar in the draft, obviously, as he fell to the third round. Though there is no guarantee Washington would have used that pick on Point, it is maddening to think that the Caps legitimately had a chance to take Point but instead traded up to take Vanecek.

The good news for this draft is that Vrana looks like he will be a great top-6 producer, they found fifth-round value in Gersich who can be an NHL third-liner and they ultimately did not lose that much in their trades up the draft even if neither turned into a home run.

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