The offseason of Blues forward T.J. Oshie has been one of erasing concerns.
Oshie, a restricted free agent entering the summer, was hours from participating in an arbitration hearing with the club Friday, a development that would have led to a short-term contract extension. But late Thursday night, the winger agreed to a five-year, $20.9 million deal, averaging $4.2 million a year, with the Blues.
"I couldn't be any happier to re-sign with the Blues," Oshie said. "It's where I've grown as a player and as a pro. As far as the long-term security goes, it's something that I've never had in my career ... so it's nice to have that security, but I still want to keep getting better every day and definitely every year."
Oshie, 25, will resume skating soon and expects no problems resulting from a minor knee injury that occurred in last season's playoffs, or a tendon issue that popped up in each of his wrists last season. He acknowledged Friday that surgery was considered — but not elected — this offseason to repair tendons in both wrists, The injury stems from stress causing the tendon to slide in and out of its groove. Oshie suffered the injury to his right wrist in November, and then missed two games in December after dealing the same injury to his left wrist.
"I didn't have surgery this summer like I thought I was going to," Oshie said. "Turned out not to be the case. I got it checked a couple of times after the season. I got a couple of different opinions. All around, no one wanted to do surgery and the end result was it didn't make sense to do surgery and take myself out of training for possibly a six- to 10-week period.
"My right one is fully healed. That was the first one that went in November. My left one that happened right before Christmas is getting up to 100 percent."
Now after erasing injury concerns, Oshie has eliminated any contract questions.
After playing out a one-year, $2.35 million contract last season, scoring a career high 19 goals and 54 points, Oshie's annual average will increase approximately $1.8 million per year. The breakdown of his five-year deal is as follows: $3.4 million in 2012-13, $4 million in 2013-14, $4.5 million in 2014-15, $4.5 million in 2015-16 and $4.5 million in 2016-17.
"We're obviously excited to have T.J. under contract as he enters the prime of his career, and to know that we're going to have him through that portion is very rewarding to our team," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "We thought he was a big piece of our team last year and is going to be a big piece as we move forward."
When the deal was struck, both the Blues and Oshie were in Toronto, readying themselves for Friday's arbitration hearing. If the two sides hadn't come to an agreement, the amount of compensation would have been decided by an arbitrator after hearing the case. On Thursday night, Armstrong and Oshie's representatives, including agent Matt Oates, were provided "briefings" highlighting each other's key points in the case.
"I definitely wanted to get a deal done," Oshie said. "St. Louis is where I want to be and it's where I want to be for a long time. So that was my No. 1 goal. But after reading the team's briefs and the briefs that the (National Hockey League Players' Association) put together, I was fine with the way it would have went there, too. It's kind of a roll of the dice, depending what the arbitrator wants to do. But at the same time, my No. 1 goal was to get a long-term deal and to solidify myself in the core group of this team for a long time."