It has been almost five years since a blockbuster trade went down during the offseason between the St. Louis Blues and the Washington Capitals. The Blues sent forward TJ Oshie to the Caps in exchange for forward Troy Brouwer, goaltender Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
As with most deals in the NHL, there’s a winner and a loser. Who won the trade may not have been clear initially, but revisiting what each team received years later, there appears to be a clear winner.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues were able to rid themselves of a $4.175 million in cap space by sending the American Olympian to the Capitals. In exchange, they saved about half a million with Brouwer’s $3.66 million cap hit. Saving money is always a good thing, but the production they ended up losing isn’t.
Brouwer had a decent year for the Blues in 2015-16, putting up 39 points in 82 games, and scoring the most climactic goal in the Blues playoff run that season. Unfortunately for St. Louis, Brouwer’s time with the team was short-lived. He went to Calgary in free agency the following year.
As for the other player that came over in the trade, Copley played just two games for the Blues, one during the 2015-16 season and one during the 2016-17 season. He allowed five total goals in those two contest and failed to record a victory.
Ironically, Copley returned to the Caps in February of 2017 as part of the deal that sent Kevin Shattenkirk to Washington. In that deal, the Blues acquired the services of Zach Sanford and Brad Malone, as well as a first-round pick in the 2017 draft.
Sanford broke out for the Blues during the 2019 Stanley Cup final, scoring four points in the final five games and tallying the final Blues goal of the series. The Blues traded the first round pick as part of the deal to acquire Brayden Schenn.
As for the third-round pick that St. Louis acquired as part of the Oshie deal, they bundled that in a trade during the draft in 2016 with the Caps to acquire a pick in the first round. That pick was used for center Tage Thompson. He put up nine points in 41 games as a rookie for the Blues this past season. Tage Thompson became part of the trade for Ryan O’Reilly, and struggled his first season in Buffalo
The addition of Oshie has more than paid off for the Capitals. At the time of the deal, Washington was searching for a talented right-winger to play with Alexander Ovechkin on the top line. He has since found a home on the second line in Washington.
In his first season with the Caps, Oshie put up 51 points in 80 games. The 2016-17 season was a breakout season for Oshie as far as scoring goes. He set a career high with 33 goals and a plus-28 rating. Those numbers earned him a monster eight-year, $46 million contract with the Caps.
This past season started slow for Oshie and had many wondering if he was worth the mega deal that the Caps signed him to. However, he turned things around and scored 47 points in 74 games. Injury slowed him a bit in 2018-19, but he still had 25 goals and 54 points, and he is still a major part of the Capitals future.
Oshie really came alive during Washington’s run to the Stanley Cup, recording eight goals, including two game-winners, and 13 assists.
The right-winger is a huge part of Washington’s success and will continue to be moving forward. He has been especially valuable on the power play. He had 11 power-play points this past postseason and has 48 regular season points on the man advantage in his career with the Caps.
Eventually getting Copley back from the Blues was a big plus for the Caps. He spent this past season with the Hershey Bears of the AHL and posted a 15-17-2 record with a 2.91 goals against average (GAA). With Washington’s recent trade of Philipp Grubauer, Copley is set to be Washington’s backup behind Braden Holtby.
Based on the fact that Oshie helped the Caps win a Cup, and he is signed to a long-term deal, Washington seems to have made out in the deal. Throw in the fact that Copley is back with the team and the Blues had to let Brouwer walk for nothing, it’s clear that the Caps came out as the winners in the 2015 TJ Oshie deal.
* originally published in June 2018