T.J. Oshie said Tuesday he would rather stay with the Washington Capitals than possibly become captain of the Seattle Kraken when the expansion team begins play in his home state.
“I guess I’ve given thought to the possibility (of playing in Seattle), but my allegiance is here,” Oshie said. “I’ve done, I feel like, as much as I can to prove that this is where I want to be. So I’ve got family out there, you know, that’s great, but Washington is where I want to be. This is where I’ve bled and cried, everything here. And this is where I want to stay for the long term. People can speculate and they can make assumptions about what I want to do or what I would like, people bring up [becoming Seattle captain], that stuff’s not that important to me. This is where I want to be with my buddies, with my family, my kids are growing up in schools here. This is where I love to play hockey.”
Oshie was speaking two days after the Capitals season ended with a 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of the best-of-7 Stanley Cup First Round.
The native of Everett, Washington, which is located about 30 miles north of Seattle, has four seasons remaining on an eight-year contract he signed with the Capitals on June 23, 2017. Seattle will join the NHL as its 32nd team next season.
“I signed an eight-year deal here because this is where I want to spend the rest of my career and retire here,” Oshie said. “I know there’s a business side of things and there’s a reality when it comes to pro sports, team sports in particular, that there’s always a chance that you could go somewhere else or get traded or whatever, but I’ve approached every day since I’ve been here like this is going to be the last team that I ever play for.
“And I think I’ve done a decent job of proving that to [coach Peter Laviolette] and [general manager Brian MacLellan] that this is where I want to be, and I feel like I can still be a big part of this team moving forward as I get older here. [I] had one of the better years scoring, I think, this year, so I don’t feel like I’m slowing down at all and I’m looking forward to bringing another Cup to D.C.”
Oshie helped the Capitals win the Stanley Cup in 2018, scoring 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games. The 34-year-old scored 43 points (22 goals, 21 assists) in 53 games this season and four points (one goal, three assists) in the series against the Bruins.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Oshie said. “You kind of sit and wait, you hope you did a good enough job to be here and to be part of the process of making another run at it next year, and, I don’t know. It’s a tough job for [MacLellan] and [Laviolette] and those guys, and the rest of us will train and prepare and try to get ready to, like I said, get back to the top.”
The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, which will take place July 21, will be under the same rules for the Kraken as the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017. Seattle will select one player from each team excluding Vegas for a total of 30 (at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies) not including additional players who may be acquired as the result of violations of the expansion draft rules.
Each NHL team can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie. With either choice, exposed players must meet certain games-played and contractual criteria and any player who has a no-movement clause must agree to waive it to be exposed.
“This expansion stuff, I wouldn’t want to be the guy who has to select who to protect and who not to,” Oshie said.
NHL.com staff writer Brett Amadon contributed to this report