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TJ Oshie wants to be back and the Capitals want him back, but will it happen?

TJ Oshie wants to be back and the Capitals want him back, but will it happen?

T.J. Oshie says he hopes to remain a Washington Capital but knows the team has many difficult decisions to make as another offseason begins sooner than anyone had anticipated.

“Right now, I feel like I'm still part of the team,” Oshie said Friday as the players reported to Kettler Capitals Iceplex one final time for exit interviews and physicals. “I never really get too far ahead of myself. Right now I’m a Capital and feel like that’s where I’ll be. If something changes, it changes.”

The 30-year-old winger has played for Washington the past two seasons but is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Oshie said his agent has had a brief conversation with Caps GM Brian MacLellan but the sides have not engaged in substantive talks yet.

“I love it here,” Oshie said. 

He added: “This group of guys, organization, coaches. It’s been a great fit for me. It’s been a great fit for my family. So, I’d like to come back here.”

MORE CAPITALS: EVERY IMPORTANT QUOTE FROM BREAKDOWN DAY

Asked if he’s excited about the possibility of becoming an unrestricted free agent, Oshie hedged a bit.  

“I don’t like change too much,” he said. 

Oshie has meant a lot to the Caps, both on the ice and in the dressing room, where he’s one of the team’s most popular players. 

He scored a career-high 33 goals in just 68 games, finishing tied with Alex Ovechkin for the team lead. The 30-year-old also blocked more shots (50) than any forward on the team.

When a reporter relayed Oshie’s comments about wanting to stay to Barry Trotz, the coach said, “We love him, too.” 

“T.J. is a big part of our hockey team,” Trotz said. “He’s what you look for in a Washington Capital. You talk about someone who is passionate; T.J. is passionate. Someone who plays with joy; T.J. plays with joy. Someone who has creativity in his game; T.J. has that. Someone who has a lot of competitive spirit in his game; T.J. has that. Can he be in a productive player for us; T.J. can do that. …Hopefully we’ll get something done.”

RELATED: ALEX OVECHKIN EXPLAINS THE TOLL HIS INJURIES TOOK

Oshie finished second on the Caps in postseason scoring behind Nicklas Backstrom, amassing four goals and eight assists in 13 games. The 12 points, in fact, also established a new-career high for Oshie.

But as he unpacks everything that occurred in the Caps’ season-ending loss to the Penguins, it’s going to be the puck he didn’t put into the net that will haunt him. 

“We had a great game plan,” he said. “We knew what we had to do. We had the right players. I felt like we had all the right ingredients. Mentally we just didn’t find a way to win Game 7. …It feels like a bad dream right now.”

Oshie added: “If there’s any moment of the game that I can remember, it’s the rebound on the side [in the second period of Game 7]. It was a tough angle. As I was going to shoot it, I could feel it flipping over my blade. I can still feel the puck going off my stick. …That one is probably going to haunt me for a while.”

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Remembering the highlights of each of the Capitals' American players

Remembering the highlights of each of the Capitals' American players

The Capitals have a superstar Russian, an incredible Swedish center, a Canadian netminder, but the team also boasts several American players as well. On the 4th of July when American celebrate the birth of our nation, lets put down the barbecue, apple pie and fireworks for a few minutes to remember some of the top highlights from each of the team's Americans.

Travis Boyd: 4 goals for Hayden

In Feb. 2018, Boyd turned hardship into an inspirational moment. While with the Hershey Bears, Boyd's daughter, Hayden, developed a serious infection and had to go to the hospital. Boyd went with her on a Sunday and did not leave until Friday morning to prepare for that night's game, a game in which he would score four goals.

John Carlson: The golden goal

Carlson has numerous highlights from his career with the Caps, but on Indepence Day it seems only fitting to look back at his biggest goal for his country. Carlson represented Team USA in the 2010 World Junior Championships which was hosted by Canada that year. USA made it all the way to the final where the played the host nation. Tied at 5 through regulation, Carlson scored the golden goal off a 2-on-1 as he caught the goalie leaning anticipating the pass.

Nic Dowd: Historic penalty shot

In Game 5 of the Caps' series against the Carolina Hurricanes in 2019, Nic Dowd was slashed by defenseman Dougie Hamilton while he was in alone on goalie Petr Mrazek. Dowd was awarded the first penalty shot of his career and he delivered, dekeing right to open up Mrazek's pads and tucking the puck through the 5-hole. In addition to being his first penalty shot goal, the goal was also Dowd's first-career playoff point.

The goal also had some historic significance for the team as it was Washington's first ever playoff penalty shot goal.

RELATED: 2003 NHL REDRAFT

Garnet Hathaway: Shows his toughness against the Rangers

On Oct. 18, the Caps hosted the New York Rangers and it proved to be an pretty epic night for Hathaway. He was knocked out of the game in the second period with a broken nose after a big hit from Jacob Trouba, came back in the third, drew a cross-check, fought Brendan Smith (again, with a broken nose), the Caps scored on the resulting power play and Hathaway returned to score the empty-netter.

That’s a pretty unbelievable game.

Nick Jensen: Assisting on goal No. 700

Jensen has been with the Capitals for about a year and a half, but he will forever be linked to the team's greatest franchise player thanks to one assist.

Against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 22, Jensen grabbed a loose puck behind the offensive goal line and sent it back behind the net to keep the offensive cycle going. That allowed Evgeny Kuznetsov to find Alex Ovechkin who scored career goal No. 700.


T.J. Oshie: T.J. Sochi

Who could forget about Oshie's incredible performance at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi?

Playing against Team Russia, USA leaned heavily on Oshie in the shootout. He would score four times on goalie Sergei Bobrovsky as USA walked away victorious.

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The biggest 'what ifs' for the 2019-20 Capitals' season: What if Vrana had a top power play role all season?

The biggest 'what ifs' for the 2019-20 Capitals' season: What if Vrana had a top power play role all season?

We are looking at some of the biggest “what ifs” for the Capitals for the 2019-20 season.

Today’s what if: What if Jakub Vrana had a top power-play role all season?

Jakub Vrana may be having the best season that no one is talking about. When you are teammates with one of the best goal scorers of all-time and a bonafide superstar, other players tend to get overshadowed. Just ask Nicklas Backstrom.

Vrana scored 24 even-strength goals in the 2019-20 season, tied for 11th in the NHL. It’s only four behind David Pastrnak, three behind Leon Draisaitl, one behind Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin, tied with Jack Eichel and more goals than players like Mika Zibanejad (23), Nathan MacKinnon (23), Connor McDavid (23) and Brad Marchand. So why isn’t Vrana viewed as the same caliber offensive player as those others? The answer is the power play.

While Vrana ranks 11th in even-strength goals, he ranks tied for 35th overall with 25 goals. That’s right, he has one single power-play goal this season. The 10 players ahead of him in the even-strength goals list averaged just over 10 power-play goals for the season. An extra 10 goals would have tied Vrana with McDavid for 10th in the NHL.

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Vrana did not start the season on the top player play unit. He was actually only moved there late in the season as Washington’s power play struggled. Relegated to the forgotten and rarely used second unit, Vrana only recently started to see more opportunity on the power play resulting in just one goal which came on Jan. 11.

But what if Vrana had been on the top power-play unit all season? Would he have racked up enough goals to garner national attention?

RELATED: 2003 NHL REDRAFT

Probably not as much as you may think.

First, let’s remember that the power play has been terrible this season. It ranks 17th in the NHL overall, but is actually 24th since Dec. 23. Second, there is not a natural spot where Vrana fits on the top power play. He is a sniper, his best asset is shooting and he is not going to replace the player tasked with taking the one-timer from the far faceoff dot, Alex Ovechkin. Vrana was playing the goal line in place of Evgeny Kuznetsov. Based on how Washington's power play has worked the last few years, this spot is primarily for setting up the slot or bouncing it back to the half-wall. Vrana is a better set-up player than many give him credit, but this role really does not put him in the best position to use his shot. More time on the power play should increase his goal total just as a result of him being on the ice more, but based on how the power play has played and how he is used, it probably would not have boosted his totals into being one of the top 10-15 scorers in the NHL this season.

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