|T.J. Oshie says he feels prepared to make the jump to the NHL (Getty Images). |
After failing in his bid to win a National Championship with the Fighting Sioux, a former North Dakota collegiate is singing the Blues.
But it isn’t necessarily a sour note.
That’s because Warroad, MN. native T.J. Oshie
is primed to make the jump from the college ranks to the NHL. The former first round selection is poised to join the St. Louis Blues as the organization pushes for their first playoff berth in five years.
Oshie’s NHL arrival wasn’t a slam dunk, though. After failing to capture a national title, the 21-year-old had to think long and hard about leaving his teammates – and another shot at the championship – behind.
“Obviously I didn’t get the national title this year, so going back and getting [the title] was on my mind,” Oshie said.
“On the other side of the fence, playing in the NHL is my dream and the opportunity arose and I thought I could make the jump. Making the jump was a better decision for me.”
Oshie joins the likes of Erik Johnson, David Perron
and fellow rookie Patrik Berglund
in the Blues’ rebuilding process. It is this core of former first round selections that St. Louis hopes can bring success. And Oshie is excited to be a part of it.
“It’s a great team to be a part of with all the great guys coming in,” Oshie said. “It’s nice to be part of a growing organization. Being able to go through it with these young guys makes things more special.”
It also helps make Oshie’s transition easier, he said.
“There’s a level of trust and confidence between all the young guys.”
It especially helps having Berglund, a fellow rookie with similar expectations, along for the ride. Admittedly, Oshie is glad he doesn’t have to go through the experience of being a highly touted impact rookie alone.
“We’re getting a close bond going. It’s nice to have close friends and [build] a relationship with someone you’re going through the same situation with.”
The situations included going through St. Louis’ rookie camp, which Oshie participated in for the second season. The camp was a formality for the prospect, reintroducing the 5-foot-11, 170-pound forward to the organization.
“I think I was a lot more ready for it. I already had an idea of the systems and things like that so I felt a lot more comfortable on the ice,” Oshie said. “It gives you a little heads up as to where you need to be. At the development camp you want to be one of the best players so you fit in more at the main camp. It gives you an idea of what kind of tempo and speed you need to play at.”
It will have to be a quick adjustment for Oshie, as he is expected to not only make the Blues, but also challenge for the Calder trophy.
“I’m just trying to take it all in and use it to my advantage and use it to motivate me.”
Oshie is well aware of the expectation, but isn’t obsessed with fulfilling it. A Calder, he suggests, isn’t the only way to mark a successful season.
Pushing St. Louis into the playoffs for the first time in the post-lockout era, however, is a tune that the Blues’ newest rookie can sing to.