The Washington Capitals announced the resigning of twenty seven year old power forward Troy Brouwer early Wednesday morning, an $11 million, three year contract. The extension occurred just three days before the expiration of the National Hockey League’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Brouwer has one year of contracted work to still play (one year/$2.35 mil) before Wednesday’s three season deal begins. The Stanley Cup Champion is now part of the Capitals through 2016, General Manager George McPhee highlighting the power winger’s goal totals over the past three years and well-rounded game to validate the extension. A seventh round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft the former Moose Jaw Warrior had his work cut out for him since becoming Chicago Blackhawk’s property. Brouwer has shed his enforcer rivaling PIMs (132 in 2005), developed a game that compliments his stature (6’2″, 214lbs.), and still continues to play with an edge that encourages the opposition to think twice.
[Troy] has averaged close to 20 goals in the past three seasons. He is a Stanley Cup winner and a great leader”
Brouwer scored eighteen goals last year (in addition to two impact playoff tallies), his first in a Capitals sweater, an improvement over his seventeen in 2011. McPhee clearly desires a return to Brouwer’s career high twenty-two goal campaign in Chicago three years back, a number that correlates well to Brouwer’s new salary cap hit. His $3.6 million cap hit in 2012-2013 will put his financial impact just below Detroit’s Johan Franzen ($3.9m) but above New Jersey’s Dainius Zubrus ($3.5m). While Brouwer likely can’t match Franzen’s thirty-four goal career high the two play a similar style across the ice, a big man’s role designed to occupy and open up space (something Zubrus has done his whole career, including two twenty goal seasons in Washington).
Brouwer hit the forty point plateau in the twenty goal season noted earlier and I expect the big rig from British Columbia to flirt with that number for his next four years in Washington. With a second creative and evasive center man (Mike Ribeiro) set to join Washington the team’s power forwards should expect to see elevated point production totals. Both Brouwer and Brooks Laich could flourish on either side of Ribeiro or Nicklas Backstrom, letting the talented pivots handle the puck through the offensive half of the ice and distribute it accordingly. When given the chance to do just that, the goals come off Brouwer’s stick as soon as they arrive.
Look for new Head Coach Adam Oates to begin Brouwer in his top 9 forward group but don’t be surprised to see Brouwer given good opportunities to earn ice time alongside Ovechkin. Coach Oates is known for his commitment to solid hockey execution and a well-rounded power forward to run alongside Ovechkin will likely be too good to pass up.
Both the term and the money on this contract are home-runs for McPhee and his camp. Brouwer was a positive addition to the locker room since his arrival and will continue to demonstrate (and impart) the work ethic that earned a 214th Draft Selection a new three year, eleven million dollar deal.