It’s been a rough offseason for the Washington Capitals but despite the loss of a few key plays, forward T.J. Oshie is putting the pressure on for the team to do better next season.
Oshie is expecting the Caps new players to step up.
“We lost a lot of really, really good players, and I think we knew that was going to happen,” Oshie said on Monday (h/t NHL.com).
“Now we’re going to need a lot of younger guys to fill in for a lot of different roles.”
“I’m looking for everyone to take that next step,” Oshie said.
“It’s not one or two guys; we need everyone to get on board and to find that next level. From our star players to our support players and to the guys that play the dirty minutes, we need everyone.”
Washington won the Presidents’ Trophy in back-to-back seasons but were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in both years.
“I don’t expect us to run away with it like we did the past couple years in the regular season,” Oshie said.
Still, Oshie is confident that the Capitals can do much more.
“You look at our goal scoring and we have [Ovechkin] coming back for another great year,” Oshie said.
“[Nicklas Backstrom], who in my mind is the best two-way center in the League, and then you got [forward Evgeny Kuznetsov] who also got that big contract (eight years, $64 million). That’s a pretty solid group with a lot of offensive threat.
“But again, we can’t rely on one or two or three guys to make or break us. We will really need to make it a group effort to make up for players that we’ve lost and to help lead the young guys that are now going to be stepping in.”
Oshie looks specifically at Pittsburgh as a team who had their young players step up and wants Washington to do the same.
“You look at Pittsburgh, for instance, and see how they had those young guys step up,” Oshie said.
“That’s what we are going to need to do. Between the younger players stepping up and the veteran players continuing to produce at the high level they have, we’ll be OK.