The St. Louis Blues came to a sane, financially prudent agreement with forward T.J. Oshie late last night and avoided arbitration. Oshie signed for five years worth a total of $20.875 million, which averages out to $4.175 million a year. That's a nice bump from his last contract, a one-year deal that earned Oshie $2.35 million.
Is it too much of a raise for a guy who put up 19 goals and 35 assists? I say no. Once you see Oshie play live, you appreciate him not just for his stats, which are fine, but for the way he plays.
Look at this guy:
He's an explosive forward, able to check hard and skate strongly, and he can take a hit as well -- he played 80 games last year, displaying durability and toughness. After a slump in games played and point production in 2010-2011, he hit career highs this season in goals, assists, games played and PIMs. At 25 years old, he's got potential he's just beginning to tap. (Hopefully, he breaks open that keg of potential in the playoffs this season.)
Also -- and you can't underrate the value of this -- kids love him. I've seen whole teams of mite players with #74 t-shirts on under their sweaters, and they're all growing their hair to emulate the stylish tufts that sprout of their hero's helmet when he flashes down the ice. A guy like Oshie, who can galvanize the youngest demographic in the fanbase, is good for the team in the long run. Hook 'em when they're young and they'll be fans for life.