Going into the season, there was a little bit of hype around Oshie. He was the 24th pick of the 2005 draft, but his developement 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 elite of the new generation of NHL stars.
Oshie finished with 39 points in only 57 games last season. However, in Oshie's last 15 games, he scored 14 points, including 5 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 2nd or 3rd 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 2nd powerplay unit.
The good thing about Oshie and the Blues this season is that from Brad Boyes to David Perron, they are deep with young talented forwards and Oshie will never be stuck on a line that cannot score. However, due to the depth, Oshie is stuck on the back end. There is also a fear of the dreaded sophomore jinx, that I was not a believer in until Peter Mueller happened.
I would discard Oshie's pointless playoffs last season because of his youth and that the playoffs are a whole other entity. At times, unsuccessful playoffs are a point of motivation and something to learn on. They are a harsh realization that you myst get better. In Oshie's case, I think he knows his 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 22 goals, 36 assists for 58 points for St. Louis' new fan favourite. (THN predicts: 78 games - 24/29/53)
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