Less than 24 hours after acquiring one of the top free-agent forwards on the open market, the Washington Capitals made a blockbuster trade Thursday evening with the St. Louis Blues, acquiring forward T.J. Oshie in exchange for forward Troy Brouwer, goaltending prospect Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 draft.
“T.J. is an outstanding skater with a tremendous skill set,” General Manager Brian MacLellan said in a news release. “He is a powerful player and has consistent track record of production throughout his career in the NHL. We feel that he complements our core group nicely and can help us get to the next level in achieving our ultimate goal. We also want to thank Troy for his contributions to our organization on and off the ice and wish him well in St. Louis.”
The move marks the latest alteration to the Capitals’ core made by MacLellan, who last summer handed $67.75 million to defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik. Wednesday evening, he landed right-winger Justin Williams, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with Los Angeles and Carolina, for two years and $6.5 million.
The 28-year-old Oshie, a hero for the United States during their 3-2 shootout victory over Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, has notched at least 50 points in each of his past three full NHL seasons and figures to slide into Washington’s top-six forward corps alongside Williams, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and one more forward. His 36 assists in 2014-15 would have ranked third on the Capitals, behind Backstrom and defenseman John Carlson, and his 2.25 even-strength points per 60 minutes would have put him far ahead of Backstrom for the team lead.
No salary was retained in the deal, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation. Oshie arrives with two years left on his current contract, which carries an average annual value of $4.175 million.
Brouwer, who spent Thursday morning skating at the team’s Arlington practice facility, has one year remaining on his deal, worth $3,666,666 per season. A veteran, big-bodied winger with 531 career games and 255 career points, including a Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010, Brouwer exits after four seasons with the Capitals. He registered 43 points in both 2013-14 and 2014-15, skating primarily on the second line beside Kuznetsov last season before shifting to the third line in the playoffs, where he had just three assists in 14 games.
An undrafted free agent from Michigan Tech, the 23-year-old Copley was highly regarded in the Capitals’ organization and projected to open next season as the starting goaltender for their American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey. He went 17-4-3 for the Bears last season with a 2.17 goals against average and .925 save percentage.
More to come. For now, here is this parting farewell note for Brouwer from Tom Wilson.