Getting to know Troy Brouwer

A bit of a curveball was thrown at Caps fans earlier tonight with the team trading their first round pick for Chicago Blackhaws winger Troy Brouwer. There’s mixed reactions from just about everyone I’ve seen and most of it is either centered around people being upset about losing a first round pick while others seem to think that this means the chances of Laich being re-signed are gone. I can definitely understand being frustrated with that first part because I am not too thrilled about giving up a first rounder for a player like Brouwer but GM George McPhee stated before that he isn’t crazy about this year’s draft class and the Caps didn’t pick until #26. This team is in more of a “win now” mode and Brouwer makes this team better for next season than the #26 pick would. I also do not think this makes the chances of Laich re-signing any less likely to happen than they were before because I expect him to test the market. Teams are going to be willing to overpay for him with how weak of a class this is. That and if you look more into it, Brouwer and Laich are very different players the former is not here to replace the latter. Let’s take a closer look at Brouwer’s game.

Age: 25
Position: RW
Contract Info: $1,025,000 2010-11 cap hit, pending RFA
Stats

2008-09 CHI 69 10 16 26 7 50 N/A N/A 4 4 1 0 0 126 .079
 2009-10 CHI 78 22 18 40 9 66 189 46 7 6 1 0 7 116 .190
 2010-11 CHI 79 17 19 36 -2 38 261 36 7 6 0 0 5 122 .139

 Behind the Net Player Card

The Good: Brouwer’s a great offensive player and can play from anywhere from the first to third line. He’s got outstanding corsi numbers in all three of his full seasons, takes huge advantage of his numerous offensive zone starts and possesses a good two-way game. He also has a big frame and isn’t afraid to get physical (he was 5th in the NHL in hits last season). Can also play on both the powerplay and penalty kill and be efficient in both roles. Also a very durable player as he’s only missed 7 games in the last two seasons.

The Bad: As I said earlier, Brouwer has solid two-way abilities but he is primarily used in offensive situations and you’ll see that he started well over half of his shifts in the offensive zone while in Chicago. Not sure if that will be the case in Washington if he is bumped to the first line with Knuble (which is very possible). He also didn’t do a lot of penalty killing last season (only :32 SH TOI/G) but I expect that to change in Washington. While he might have a lot of offensive ability, his basic stats are underwhelming, especially last season but that shouldn’t be too big of a deal depending on what role he plays on the team.

Where Does He Fit On The Caps?

As I said earlier, he’s a versatile player when it comes to what role he is put in because he has tons of offensive talent but isn’t a liability on defense either. Seems that he will fit into Boudreau’s system well because of that. I also do not think he is a replacement for Laich at all because Brouwer is a pure winger, Laich mainly played at center or at left wing and Brouwer appears to be a lot more physical than Laich , as well. To me, Brouwer looks more like a better version of Jason Chimera, or maybe even a replacement for Marco Sturm on the second line? Well shall see what happens. In Chicago, he played most of his minutes with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, but also spent some time on the 2nd line with JP Dowell and Bryan Bickell. Definitely a lot of things we could do with him and it makes the team’s forward corps look better on paper. I just think people are overreacting when they say that this means Laich is gone because Brouwer’s contract was not that big last season and the Caps re-signing him will not put the team in cap hell. I’m still not thrilled about giving up a first round pick, but am happy that Troy Brouwer is a Washington Capital.

If you still think the move was dumb, then Brian Campbell was traded to the Florida Panthers for Rostislav Olesz. It could be a lot worse, people!

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