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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Brouwer or Brooks?

No doubt all of Caps Nation has heard of the trade that pretty much made Day One of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft a Day Off.  The first pick, which was going to be the 26th anyway was traded for Troy Brouwer of the Blackhawks.

I like this trade, and not just because of Katie Carrera's point that GMGM may be able to fill two roster spots with one with this guy.  Of course that begs the question--one that I have raised already this summer.  Who is on their way out?  According to capgeek.com, Marco Sturm, Jason Arnott, Brooks Laich, Boyd Gordon, and Matt Bradley all have expiring contracts come July 1.  The numbers and the intangibles tend to speak for themselves--all but the first person on that list have earned at least a second look.  Let me spell it all out in case you're still not sure:

Marco Sturm--never seemed to get his legs under him, no pun intended and doesn't seem suited for the new hard-hitting style we need to implement.  Best bet is that he'll end up on a Western team that needs secondary scoring.

Jason Arnott--carried the team through a potential disaster in Round One but seemed to run out of gas in Round 2, but that may have been a team-wide malaise.  In any case he seems to have enough in the tank for one last run. 

Boyd Gordon--with David Steckel gone, he is the only consistently above-average faceoff man we've got.  Enough said.

Matt Bradley--has the ability to turn the game around, more with his fists than anything.  For that reason he'll probably be kept, though his playing time may diminish. Won't command a lot for salary so the savings won't be much there either.

So we're down to Brooks Laich and we're down to Troy Brouwer. To be sure they may both be kept if injuries have a part to play in all of this. But is seems unlikely. 

I mentioned before that chemistry plays a part in a team's success.  Well then consider this--Brooks Laich's vaunted leadership skills have earned raves from his peers, but have they translated into on-ice success?  Don't get me wrong I think Brooksy is a great player and a hell of an example both on and off the ice.  But if his voice really carried that much weight, how was it that things have gone so flat in the playoffs lately?  It doesn't matter if you're a great guy, you have to be something of a jerk sometimes to get your mates to wake up. I haven't heard anything about his personality, but maybe Troy Brouwer is that guy.  His 262 hits this past season sure couldn't hurt, so you know he will play with an edge.

I'll close with this, and this might spin some heads even further.  It is possible that both players are kept, just not likely.  If that happens, next year certainly somebody will have to go, even if the cap is raised again.  If you do some quick research into Brouwer's history, you will see that the he was the top scorer in the WHL (Junior leagues) in 2006. Guess who was the winner the year before? Eric Fehr, who just happens to be in the last year of his contract.  Barring a bust-out 30+ goal year I think it's a safe bet both he and his 2.2 million dollar cap-hit will be gone after this year.

Funny how things just fall into place.

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