Former Blues first round pick in 2005 still among fan
favorites in St. Louis, holds city and supporters in high regard
ST. LOUIS -- It may have ended badly, his tenure in St. Louis ending with a trade to the Washington Capitals after another quick playoff exit in 2015, but for Blues 2005 first-round pick T.J. Oshie, he will always be a fan-favorite in his first NHL home.
|Washington forward T.J. Oshie is all smiles to be back in his familiar|
stomping grounds, his first NHL home in St. Louis in his first NHL
And don't think for a second when Oshie's name is announced inside Enterprise Center Friday and Saturday, that the reception won't be loud and boisterous, as if he never left.
And the No. 74 Blues Oshie jerseys will be out in full force.
"It's pretty surreal and it's a pretty special feeling to come back to a place where I haven't played in a while," Oshie said Thursday at media day inside Stifel Theatre. "... Plenty of chances to get new jerseys and there's still a lot of (No.) 74 Oshie jerseys out there.
"I think it goes to show you the loyalty of the fans here. I put in a lot of work to try and win a Cup here. I feel like they respected that, they respected my work ethic and I respect their support through thick and thin."
The Blues had just been eliminated in six games against the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Everyone knew general manager Doug Armstrong would shake up the lineup or make a coaching change at the time. As it turned out, Oshie, whose oldest daughter Lyla was born in St. Louis, was sent packing. He was shipped to the Capitals for Troy Brouwer, goalie Pheonix Copley and a 2016 third-round pick.
It ended a seven-year run in St. Louis for the University of North Dakota alum, where Oshie had 310 points (110 goals, 200 assists) in 443 regular-season games and nine points (five goals, four assists) in 30 playoff games.
It was a shock trade at the time, trading away one of the more popular Blues in some time, but in the long run, Oshie went on to accomplish with Alex Ovechkin and Co. what he couldn't do here: win a Stanley Cup in 2018. He watched on as many of his friends and former teammates accomplished the same last season.
"I've won a Cup in another city," Oshie said. "They won a Cup with a different team."
Oshie was part of the boy-band group, if you want to call them that, along with Patrik Berglund, David Perron, David Backes, even Alex Pietrangelo coming up later after those guys. They were the new faces that were the promise of finally putting the Blues over the hump. It didn't materialize that way. They all disbanded in some shape or form except for Pietrangelo. Even Perron left twice, only to return in his third stint.
But Blues fans never got over the fan-favorite Oshie being used as a scapegoat at the time, and still to this day, regret that he's not here.
"I got in a little trouble here when I was younger and no one turned their back on me," Oshie said. "They've always been so great to me and I think that's why it makes it so special to be back here in St. Louis and play in my first All-Star Game here."
Oshie was voted in part of the Metropolitan Division in the 'Last Men In' campaign. He has 34 points (18 goals, 16 assists) in 49 games for the Capitals, his fifth season in Washington and 12th overall.
Oshie brought 20 of his family and closest friends with him for what should be a memorable weekend.
"He deserves to be here," Pietrangelo said of Oshie. "He plays all of those games here and the seasons, comes back and this is his first one. It's funny how sometimes things work. Here we are."