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UND MEN'S HOCKEY: Oshie, St. Louis closing in on deal

-UND junior forward T.J. Oshie and the St. Louis Blues are in negotiations and a contract could be done within 48 hours, sources say. As of late Monday night, no deal was signed, however. Oshie, a first-round pick of the Blues in 2005, could make...

­UND junior forward T.J. Oshie and the St. Louis Blues are in negotiations and a contract could be done within 48 hours, sources say.

As of late Monday night, no deal was signed, however.

Oshie, a first-round pick of the Blues in 2005, could make as much as $850,000 per year and an $85,000 signing bonus. Other performance bonuses could double his annual salary.

The former Warroad (Minn.) High School star declined to sign an offer from St. Louis at the end of the 2006-07 season to return to UND for his junior year.

As a junior, he was a first-team all-Western Collegiate Hockey Association pick and one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Oshie led the team in scoring with 45 points in 42 games, despite battling injuries for most of the season.

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His junior year came to an end at the NCAA Frozen Four in Denver after a 6-1 loss to eventual national champion Boston College. After that game, Oshie talked about his future.

"It's unfortunate to have to go out like this," he said. "But if there is a group of guys I have to go out with, this would definitely be it."

UND has had at least one player leave early every offseason since 2000. Last summer, Jonathan Toews and Brian Lee signed pro deals after their sophomore seasons. Toews, a Chicago Blackhawk, is one of three finalists for the NHL's rookie of the year and Lee played in the playoffs for the Ottawa Senators.

Besides Oshie, Sioux juniors Taylor Chorney, Ryan Duncan, Joe Finley and Andrew Kozek are expected to get some interest from pro teams.

Oshie is considered the most pro ready. He attended St. Louis' development camp last summer and graded out as the team's top prospect, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But he returned to school, citing development and a hunger for another shot at the national championship.

UND lost to Boston College in the national semifinals in all three of Oshie's collegiate seasons.

"I'm always going to remember being with the boys," Oshie said after the latest loss to Boston College. "We've got a lot of people on this team who I'm going to be friends with for the rest of my life. And there are a couple of best friends in that group."

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to bschlossman@gfherald.com .

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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