Going into the season, there was a little bit of hype around Oshie. He was the 24th pick of the 2005 draft, but his development at the University of North Dakota landed him on the Blues’ roster last season.
It took him almost a whole season to get used to the speed of the NHL, but when he did, he proved that he is among the the new generation of NHL stars.
Oshie finished with 39 points in only 57 games last season.
In Oshie’s last 15 games, he scored 14 points, including five goals to help the St. Louis Blues clinch their first playoff berth since 2004. Unfortunately, the Blues were schooled by the Vancouver Canucks in a four-game sweep, in which Oshie did not register a point.
However, the late season run proves that the the Blues may be young, but they have the talent to be a playoff contender.
This year, the Blues are going to rely on Oshie, as well as their other young stud, Patrik Berglund, as regular contributors to a team that should make the playoffs once again.
With Paul Kariya and Andy McDonald coming back from injury, Oshie will likely start on the second or third line with either Berglund or Keith Tkachuk as his center. He played well on the powerplay last season, but with the return of the verterans, Oshie will probably be on the second powerplay unit.
The good thing about the Blues this season is that from Oshie to Brad Boyes to David Perron, they are deep with young, talented forwards. If that depth can shine through, Oshie will never be stuck on a line that cannot score.
For Oshie, our focus, the depth has its negatives. He is stuck on the back end of the rotation and will need to scrap for ice time. There is also a fear of the dreaded sophomore jinx, which I believed to be nothing but a myth until I saw Phoenix's Peter Mueller last season.
I would discard Oshie’s playoff performance last season because of his youth. For a young player, the playoffs are a whole other entity.
Sometimes, unsuccessful playoffs are a point of motivation and something to learn from. They can be a harsh realization that you must get better.
In Oshie’s case, I think he knows he must get better and will dedicate himself to doing so. Given that Oshie found his game at the NHL speed at the end of last season, and has a core of players that he can play with, Oshie will have a successful second season.
I fearlessly forecast 20 goals, 34 assists for 54 points for St. Louis’s new fan favourite.
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