ARLINGTON, Va. — T.J. Oshie is looking forward to joining Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom with the Washington Capitals, who acquired the Sochi Olympics shootout star from the St. Louis Blues on Thursday for Troy Brouwer.
“I’d feel kind of like a kid in a candy store, I guess, playing with that calibre of player,” Oshie said on a conference call.
As part of the swap of right wings, Washington also will send AHL goalie Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in next year’s NHL draft to St. Louis.
Oshie had 19 goals and 36 assists in 72 games last season, his seventh in the NHL, all with St. Louis. He is best known for scoring four times during a shootout to lead the United States to a victory against Russia at the 2014 Olympics.
The ruby-cheeked forward was a key member of a core in St. Louis that consistently produced in the regular season but didn’t get much done in the playoffs — a pattern the Capitals have followed, too.
The Blues were eliminated in the first round each of the last three seasons and the team had seemed reluctant to break up a group of players that includes captain David Backes, forwards Patrik Berglund and Alexander Steen, and defencemen Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk.
“There’s a lot of disappointment after the way we lost out,” Oshie said.
Brouwer totalled 21 goals and 22 assists for Washington last season while appearing in all 82 games. He has played in nine NHL seasons, the last four with the Capitals after five with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Since Ovechkin — who led the NHL in goals this season — and Backstrom — No. 1 in assists – have been in Washington, the team has never made it past the second round of the playoffs. The Capitals were eliminated at that stage this year by the New York Rangers in Game 7, after leading the series 3-1.
Two days after Washington’s season ended, Brouwer said: “We’ve got to find a way to be able to get past this little hump of losing in the first or second round, and it starts with closing teams out and not being afraid to succeed.”
Asked to explain, Brouwer added: “When guys haven’t been past a certain point, mentally it can be fairly tough. You want to win, and all you want to do is win. But you can’t be afraid to not move on.”
The trade for Oshie came less than 24 hours after Washington got another right wing, Justin Williams, via free agency. Williams agreed to a $6.5 million, two-year contract.
Williams has been a member of three Stanley Cup champions, once with the Carolina Hurricanes and twice with the Los Angeles Kings. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the post-season MVP with the Kings in 2014.
“He’s a very cerebral, smart player,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s very productive, and he’s a winner.”
Williams is 7-0 in Game 7s with seven goals and seven assists, according to STATS.
Washington, meanwhile, has lost six of its past nine Game 7s.
“The storyline’s (there), obviously,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said. “He just brings the things we need, that we don’t have. We’re looking to get over the hump and he’s been there before.”
Williams said the decision to go to Washington was popular with his son, who turns 7 on Friday.
“He woke up this morning and said, ‘Daddy, where we playing?’ I told him Washington, and he was all smiles, so that passed the test,” Williams said Thursday.
Then he added: “I just hope he has one of my jerseys on, instead of Ovi’s.”
In another move Thursday, the Capitals brought back forward Chris Bourque with a two-year, two-way contract.