Send T.J. Oshie to a Nice Farm in the Country
Look. I'm a T.J. Oshie guy. My first (of far too many) Capitals jersey was a T.J. Oshie sweater. The 2014 Olympics were the highlight of my 20-year self-exile from hockey. But it ain't 2014 anymore.
Today, Oshie is...geez, what's the nicest way to say this...it's not good, OK? Among right wingers (it's unusual for me to ride for right wingers -- that's how much I like Oshie!), Oshie ranks 54th in points with 18. Eighteen points! He's on pace to barely match last season's goals total (11, which in addition to being his lowest total in a season playing more than 30 games, is just not very good), and is on pace to underperform last season's 14 assists (also his lowest total in any season playing more than 30 games).
And that assumes Oshie doesn't miss another game this season -- which is not exactly a safe assumption, given his history of injuries.
Now, there's nothing necessarily wrong with relying on a winger who tallies 25-ish points per season. It starts to become problematic, though, when he's carrying a cap hit of nearly $6 million through the 2024-25 season (which, incidentally, will be Alex Ovechkin's next-to-last year of his current contract).
The whole situation is just not great.
So cut bait. Buy out his contract.
Buying out Oshie's contract at the end of the 2022-23 season wouldn't be cheap. The Capitals would have to eat a cap hit of $2.9 million in 2023-24; $3.9 million in 2024-25 (ouch), and $1.1 million for the two seasons after that.
Would it suck to light almost $4 million of cap space on fire, just to make Oshie go home? For sure! Could you find a winger who'd surpass Oshie's production for about $1.8 million? Yeah, probably! (Just to pick a random example: Phil Kessel, who was totally gettable this past offseason, is on a one-year, $1.5 million deal with Vegas, and is on pace for 38 points this season -- and he hasn't missed a game all year).
Look, I don't like this! But Oshie is ranked 606th in total points per salary dollar. SIX HUNDRED SIXTH!!! And this is a guy whose production is quickly running out of steam. For a team already carrying a top-heavy payroll dominated by aging stars, the Oshie situation is unsustainable. Something has gotta give, and Oshie is the loosest brick in the wall.