Blues Prepare a Path for Oshie

Friday, 07.11.2008 / 3:34 PM CT / St Louis Blues - Features
By Dan Rosen  - NHL.com
X
Share with your Friends


Blues Prepare a Path for Oshie
The St. Louis Blues hope the future is now for talented forward T.J. Oshie, their first-round selection in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Oshie starred for the University of North Dakota and hopes to debut in the NHL this fall.
T.J. Oshie's collegiate career included 142 points in 128 games, three trips to the Frozen Four and Hobey Baker Award consideration.
No one in the St. Louis Blues organization has told T.J. Oshie that he must be on the team's NHL roster next season. No one really has to, either.

"I can sense it a little bit just from being around town," Oshie, the Blues' first-round pick in 2005, told NHL.com. "People are talking. There are expectations, but I'm not really too worried about them. I'm not letting it get to my head too much."

Oshie plans on living up to those expectations soon enough, but the hype began May 13 when he signed his first professional contract. Oshie followed that up the next day with a press conference, where he sat between Blues President John Davidson and Lars Eller, another former first-rounder who also signed his entry-level deal.

With the welcome mat rolled up now, Oshie has to show Davidson, Larry Pleau and the Blues' team of executives why he's worth all the fuss.

"He's a dogged hockey player and a smart hockey player," Davidson told NHL.com. "He can make plays at top speed. He can play the wing or center ice. There is nothing not to like about him. He'll be given every opportunity."

Oshie could have signed his first pro contract last summer, but felt another year of maturing at the University of North Dakota was warranted. He finished the season with 45 points, capping a remarkable collegiate career that included 142 points in 128 games, three trips to the Frozen Four and consideration for the Hobey Baker Award.

"Everybody comes to camp to compete for a job and he'll have to do the same thing, then we'll see where he's at," Jarmo Kekalainen, the Blues' assistant general manager and chief amateur scout, told NHL.com. "He's been one of the best college hockey players in the country. He has taken his team to the Frozen Four twice in a row as one of the best players on that team. Those are the things that build the expectation and I think he has those expectations for himself. We definitely have them, but it does come down to how he does in September."

Oshie Position:        Center
Born:              12/23/1986
Birthplace:    Mt. Vernon, WA
Height:            5'11"
Weight:          170 lbs.
Shoots:          Right  
Even with much to prove, Oshie said his friends and family are already thinking of booking trips to see him in St. Louis.

"The boys in North Dakota, they keep telling me I'm going to do fine and they're going to all be watching me," Oshie said. "All my family wants to make it to every game, so they're looking for tickets. It's overwhelming. I think they're ahead of themselves, but it's great. I don't think it's really going to hit me until I get to camp and see where I am."

Where he is right now is at the top of the Blues' growing list of prospects, along with fellow center Patrik Berglund and Eller. Davidson and Kekalainen say Oshie and Berglund have the best shots to make the team out of training camp; but Oshie feels he'll probably make it as a winger instead of a center only because of maturity.

"I would probably guess winger right away, being a rookie," he said, "but I would like to move to the center position in the future."

Oshie admits he's nervous about coming to camp. It has nothing to do with his talent and everything to do with him not being familiar with the NHL game.

"I feel good, but I haven't skated with the big guns yet," Oshie said. "They told me to expect a faster game. The game is a lot different than it is in college. Once I adapt I should be OK. I think I'm just wondering if I will be able to keep up and be able to contribute."

It's not as if Oshie isn't clued in to the NHL game. One of his good friends is Chicago's Jonathan Toews, a former UND teammate. Oshie stayed in touch with Toews, the second runner-up for the Calder Trophy this past season, by picking his brain about the pro game.

"He's been one of the best college hockey players in the country. He has taken his team to the Frozen Four twice in a row as one of the best players on that team. Those are the things that build the expectation and I think he has those expectations for himself. We definitely have them, but it does come down to how he does in September." - Jarmo Kekalainen
Toews told Oshie that he found it to be easier for faster, skilled forwards to make plays in the NHL because of the restrictions on clutching and grabbing, which don't exist in the college game.

"At the college level, clutching and grabbing is a good play for a defenseman," Oshie said. "Johnny Toews was talking to me about how much easier it is to make plays (in the NHL) because you don't have guys all over you. In college, guys were all over him and that's why he didn't put up the big numbers."

Oshie has been putting up numbers ever since he laced up the skates as a toddler. He said he was about 4-1/2 years old when he started skating, and a year later added a stick and pads to his equipment bag.

"The only thing I remember is they put me with all of the older kids in the skating classes," said Oshie, who was born in Mt. Vernon, Wash. "I was picking it up faster than the rest of the kids my age."

Oshie, though, claims he has never patterned his game after anyone in particular.

"I didn't really watch too much hockey when I was younger," Oshie said. "I kept my eye on Gretzky, because he was a big deal. Pavel Bure was a big name growing up in Washington. He was an idol for all the kids, but I think I play my own style."

It's a style that not only includes skills and competitiveness, but an edge, too.

"There's so many things that we like about him," Kekalainen said. "It's hard to hide your excitement I guess."

Enough said, at least for now.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 236 226 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 248 201 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 232 208 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 229 189 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 242 222 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 231 201 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 230 210 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 241 216 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 220 205 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 261 260 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 219 227 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 228 232 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 198 283 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 170 272 56

STATS

2014-2015 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 5 6 1 -1 7
K. Shattenkirk 5 0 7 4 7
P. Berglund 5 2 2 4 4
A. Steen 5 1 3 -1 4
J. Schwartz 5 1 2 0 3
D. Backes 5 1 1 2 2
J. Lehtera 4 0 2 -1 2
R. Reaves 5 1 0 1 1
P. Stastny 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Jaskin 5 0 1 1 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Allen 2 3 0 .911 2.03

 
TICKETS
Single Game Tickets
2015-16 Ticket Plans
Group Tickets
Luxury Suites
Renew Your Season Tickets
NHL Ticket Exchange
View From Your Seat

TEAM
Roster
In the System
Coaches
Front Office
Blues History
All-Time Player Roster
Chicago Wolves
Alaska Aces

SCHEDULE
Regular Season
Playoff Schedule
Schedule Downloads

STATS
Player Stats
League Standings

NEWS
News
Features
Blues Overtime Blog

VIDEO
Video Channels
Game Highlights

GameDay

SOCIAL
Find a Player
Facebook
Twitter
Mobile App
E-mail Subscriptions

FANS
Hot Deals for Cool Fans
Photo Galleries
License Plates

COMMUNITY
Blues in the Community
Blues 14 Fund
50/50 Raffle Numbers

SHOP
Online Store
Blues Auctions
True Blues Authentics

stlouisblues.com is the official Web site of the St Louis Blues. St Louis Blues, stlouisblues.com and stlblues.com are trademarks of the St Louis Blues Hockey Club. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 St. Louis Blues Hockey Club and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

PRIVACY POLICY | ADCHOICES | TERMS OF USE | EMPLOYMENT & INTERNSHIPS | GUEST EXPERIENCE SURVEY | CONTACT US