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Oshie 'excited for my new start' with Capitals

by Katie Brown

WASHINGTON -- When the NHL free agency period started, the Washington Capitals were looking to add a top-six forward. They wound up adding two.

Hours after signing Justin Williams late Wednesday night to a two-year contract, the Capitals on Thursday acquired T.J. Oshie in a trade with the St. Louis Blues.

"I'm looking to fit in wherever they think is the best fit for me," Oshie said. "I'm coming in as the new guy and willing to go in there and earn my time and show them what I can do."

Oshie could play alongside two of the NHL's best players, forwards Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

"It would be something I've never experienced before," Oshie said. "I've always played with very good players but never players that have put up numbers like those two guys have. To get out there with them would be amazing. I'd feel like a kid in a candy store playing with that caliber of player."

Oshie played top-six minutes in St. Louis and likely will again with the Capitals, whether it's alongside Ovechkin and Backstrom or young forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky.

The trade was discussed during the NHL Draft last weekend, but as days passed, Oshie was less sure Washington would be his destination until he received a call from St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong on Thursday.

"My initial reaction was a little bit of shock, and then after a couple minutes I started getting excited," said Oshie, who played seven seasons for St. Louis. "I was just really excited to go on to the next chapter of my career. I'm just excited to be included as a piece of the puzzle."

Washington traded forward Troy Brouwer, goalie Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft to St. Louis.

Oshie had 19 goals and 36 assists (55 points) last season, one season after setting NHL career highs with 21 goals, 39 assists and 60 points.

"T.J. is an outstanding skater with a tremendous skill set," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. "He is a powerful player and has consistent track record of production throughout his career in the NHL. We feel that he complements our core group nicely and can help us get to the next level in achieving our ultimate goal."

The 28-year-old was the 24th pick by St. Louis in the 2005 NHL Draft; he has 310 points (110 goals) in 443 NHL games.

"If you would have asked me last summer, I would say I was probably going to retire as a Blue," Oshie said. "But it's the business side of things. Things change and I'm excited for my new start."

Brouwer, 29, had 21 goals and 22 assists (43 points) in 82 games last season. He missed one game in four seasons since being traded to Washington by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011. He had 255 points (132 goals) in 531 NHL games.

Copley, 23, was 17-4-3 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 26 games with Hershey of the American Hockey League last season.

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