Rant Sports Top 100 Players In The NHL: No. 71 - T.J. Oshie

By Randy Holt
Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE

It may not have ended in the way he, or his club, would have liked, but the 2011-2012 season was still a very successful one for T.J. Oshie. Possibly the best of his career, and may have even saved his career with the St. Louis Blues. More on that later.

The Blues were the surprise of the NHL last season, grabbing the no. 2 seed in the Western Conference and playing better defense than any other team in the league. They looked like a tough match for everyone until the Los Angeles Kings rolled over them like they rolled over everyone else.

But Oshie was a big part of the success the Blues found this past season. After a rough stretch for the franchise, they have a young core in place that has the organization looking at a bright future.

T.J. Oshie isn’t really a star in the National Hockey League, and he may not ever be. But he’s the type of guy who is in that next tier of players, right after the stars. He does a lot of things well, and has the chops to be a top notch offensive player.

For Oshie, it’s been a matter of staying on the ice. Prior to this past season, Oshie had only played in 182 of 246 games. Most of that was due to health, as well as that whole situation where he just didn’t show up to practice back in 2010-11. For him, it’s just been a matter of staying healthy, physically and mentally.

He finally did that in ’11-’12, playing in 80 of 82 games. His numbers weren’t quite as high as you would have though, given the numbers he put up in smaller sample spaces in the years before, but it was still a solid season.

Oshie finished with 54 points on the year. He posted career-highs in goals (19), assists (35), power play points (16), and was one point off of tying his career-best for plus-minus. Where Oshie makes a (somewhat) quiet impact is in the physical game. He had 130 hits last season, probably a higher total than you’d expect from a guy with his size.

Formerly a center, Oshie spent most his time out on the wing this season. Perhaps with a season under his belt there now, with a year to get comfortable, he could see an increase in his numbers heading into the new season. He has an accurate shot and is a decent playmaker. He should have more than 54 points if he plays in 80 games again.

Prior to the season, Oshie’s name had been thrown out there in trade rumors. That’s not the case anymore, as Oshie and the Blues agreed to a five-year deal in the summer. The type of dough that St. Louis threw at him really establishes Oshie as a core part of this team.

The Blues are an up-and-coming team in the NHL, and Oshie is right in the middle of it all. He has the offensive skills to be a very successful player in this league. It’s just a matter of him putting it all together. He proved he could put together a healthy season last year, now he has to build on it.

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