“Obviously it’s huge, especially in his last year of the deal,” Ovechkin said. “Ka-Ching.”
An unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Oshie is due a significant pay raise this summer after the most productive season of his career. He currently leads the Capitals in goals, and he is Washington’s first 30-goal scorer other than Ovechkin in seven years. The sound of a cash register gets louder the more he scores.
Last summer, 28-year-old right wing Kyle Okposo signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres, and he was coming off a 22-goal season. David Backes was 32 when he signed his five-year, $30 million contract with the Boston Bruins, and his last 30-plus-goal season was in 2010-11.
It’s unclear who will be signing Oshie’s hefty paychecks after this season, but for now, he has made an impressive Capitals top line with Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom even better by becoming a legitimate scoring threat alongside Ovechkin.
“Osh has found the ability to score a little bit more in the last couple of years,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “I mean, every year he’s gotten better and better in terms of his offense, in terms of his goal-scoring. When he first got here, I put him with Ovi and Backy, and all he wanted to do was get the puck to Ovi and Backy. I think they have the mutual respect that all three guys know that they’re all terrific players and they can make things happen. They’ve been good.”
It was Ovechkin and Backstrom who had to break Oshie of his pass-first tendency. While Oshie had good point production in St. Louis — 60 in the 2013-14 season and 55 the year after — he scored more than 20 goals just once. In Washington, Oshie’s assists are down, but he has now set a career high in goals two years in a row.
His production this season has been even more impressive because he has played in just 59 games, battling a shoulder injury earlier in the season and then a concussion. With 50 points, he has averaged a career-best 0.85 points per game.
“It feels great,” Oshie said. “It’s something that I always thought I could do in kind of increments. My first goal was 20, and I was flirting with it for a while there when I was a little bit younger. It’s pretty special for me to get to that point. I felt like I worked pretty hard for it, but at the same time, I’ve got some pretty good players around me and without them, I don’t think I’d get there. A lot of hats off to those guys.”
Said goaltender Braden Holtby: “His skill is pretty outstanding. It’s been a surprise to us that he hasn’t had 30 before. Because the way he can handle the puck, the things he can do with it full speed, is pretty amazing. He’s been big for our team this year. … He brings that energy every game. He plays hard, goes to those hard areas to get those goals, and you don’t see many skilled guys that love doing that, that love going to those hard areas and getting hit and hitting people, but he’s one of them.”