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Oshie Ready to Play with the Pros

After three seasons of college, Oshie thinks he's ready for the NHL

Wednesday, 05.14.2008 / 4:02 PM CT / St Louis Blues - Features
By Chris Pinkert  - St. Louis Blues
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Oshie Ready to Play with the Pros
Blues President John Davidson (right) and T.J. Oshie pose for a photo after Oshie signed his first professional contract on May 13, 2008.
Better late than never, they say, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to Blues prospect T.J. Oshie.

Despite having the strength and skill necessary to succeed at the highest level, Oshie passed up opportunities to turn pro, instead opting to return to the University of North Dakota for another shot at a national title.

But that was then.

This is now, and Oshie says he’s ready to drop the puck on his professional career.

“Last year, I think mostly it was just maturity,” he said about the decision to return to college for another season. “I don’t think I was quite ready to grow up and be a professional player. Now I think I am, and I’m ready to go.”

Oshie proved it by signing his first professional contract with the Blues on Tuesday, officially closing the book on a college career that included three Frozen Four appearances, Hobey Baker Award consideration as college hockey’s most valuable player and 142 points (59 goals, 83 assists) in 129 games.

Leaving behind success like that certainly didn’t come easy for the Blues’ first round draft pick in 2005.

“We’re all best friends on the team, we’re all a tight group of guys and we battle for each other,” Oshie said about his North Dakota teammates. “It was really tough. After our last game there, I kinda knew it was the last time I’d be hanging the (Fighting Sioux jersey) up. It’s pretty emotional, but I’m proud to throw a (Blues sweater) over it now.”

For Blues management, who has shown patience as they wait for the team’s prospects to develop, this week’s events have been a long time in the making. Lars Eller, who was the team’s first round pick (13th overall) in 2007, also signed his first pro contract this week.

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Oshie
T.J. Oshie
St. Louis Blues

Oshie turned down previous opportunities to turn pro, instead choosing to stay at the University of North Dakota to take a shot at a national championship. After three Frozen Four appearances, he says he's ready for the pros.

More: Press Conference
Oshie's Player Bio
Oshie, Eller Sign with Blues
“It’s an exciting time for our hockey club,” said Blues President John Davidson. “We’ve been talking a lot about our future and we’ve got a couple of key components right here that are a big part of the future of the Blues.”

“We’re committed to young players, and with Lars Eller and T.J. Oshie, we’ve added two more ingredients to our team. It’s an encouraging sign to see these young guys sign,” added Blues coach Andy Murray. “You come to training camp with the idea that you’re going to make the Blues, not next year, not the year after, but this year. That’s what we expect. And if they can help make us a better team, they’ll be in our lineup on opening night."

Oshie becomes the first player to leave UND this season for the pros. In recent years, the Fighting Sioux have lost Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Ottawa’s Brian Lee to the lure of professional hockey.

“T.J. is ready for this step in his career,” North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol told the Grand Forks Herald. “Getting to the NHL is a big step and nobody takes it for granted, but in my opinion, he’s ready for that challenge.

“I think he’s one of those special players that only comes around every so often. The level he plays at every single night is something special. You can think to all areas of his game – the highlight hits, the highlight back-checks, the highlight defensive plays and the highlight-reel goals. The energy and passion he plays the game with is special.”

Oshie hopes to be part of the Blues roster when the season starts again in October. But for now, he’s trying to enjoy the first few days of being a pro.

“It’s all I thought it would be,” he said. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this (and) it’s finally coming true.”

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HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 77 37 36 27 73
A. Steen 74 24 40 8 64
J. Schwartz 75 28 35 13 63
D. Backes 80 26 32 7 58
T. Oshie 72 19 36 17 55
P. Stastny 74 16 30 5 46
A. Pietrangelo 81 7 39 -2 46
J. Lehtera 75 14 30 21 44
K. Shattenkirk 56 8 36 19 44
P. Berglund 77 12 15 -2 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 26 14 3 .917 2.26
J. Allen 22 7 4 .913 2.28

 
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