Calgary Flames sign UFA Troy Brouwer: 4 years, $4.5 AAV

Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

The Flames have jumped into the free agent frenzy, signing Troy Brouwer to a four-year deal worth $18 million.

Brouwer will be 31 years old to start next season, so he’ll be 35 by the time his deal ends. He’s a 6’3, 213 lb. right winger, filling the Flames’ need for both size and, well, right wingers. He’s been healthy throughout his career, having played full 82 game seasons five of the last six seasons; his career low is 69. Last season, he scored 18 goals and 39 points.

But that $4.5 million cap hit… how does that fit in?

As of now, Brouwer is the Flames’ highest-paid forward.

Look, there’s no doubt Brouwer fills a crucial role on the Flames. With his signing, he joins Matt Stajan as the lone Flames forwards 30 years old or older. He fills a veteran role; he’s been on deep playoff runs. He’s big and he plays a position the Flames need to fill and is a legitimate top six winger (uh, we hope).

For now. July 1 can make people go a little crazy – and that’s a fair amount of term and a sizeable cap hit for a winger who will, in all likelihood, be on the decline throughout his contract.

To put it into context, Brouwer has only broken the 40 point barrier three out of eight times in his career.

Via Corsica, here’s how Brouwer was used in St. Louis this past season:

troy brouwer stl usage

Brouwer’s 49.56% 5v5 CF was the third worst out of all regulars on the Blues, ahead of just Ryan Reaves and Scott Gomez. He was one of just five Blues regulars to be a negative possession player, below 50%. However, Brouwer’s zone starts should be considered: his 26.71% OZS were the sixth worst on the Blues, so it’s possible he could rebound if placed in more prime position to score – say, alongside Sean Monahan or Sam Bennett.

Brouwer is building an off-season home in Calgary – er, regular home, now – and reportedly wants to retire here, so at least you know this is another player who legitimately wants to be here that the Flames have added.

  • freethe flames

    Now what do the lines look like?


    or will Tkachuk ready?


  • beloch

    For the salary and term Brouwer just got you need to get a second line winger, at the very least. It’s too much to pay for a bottom sixer. However, Brouwer looks like a bottom sixer now. What will he be by the time this contract is over? Brouwer is basically Engelland 2.0. I honestly don’t understand this signing.

    Colborne, who is younger and arguably better, would likely have signed for less, and you wouldn’t have to worry about massive decline in the last couple years of the contract. This signing makes the Flames worse, older, and less cap efficient.

    Here’s hoping Treliving and Gulutzan see something in Brouwer that I’m not.

    Edit: Joe Colborne just signed with Colorado for $2.5M/yr for 2 years. I’d take that contract over Brouwer’s any day.

  • GodsGotSandals

    So with Brouwer getting 4.5 mill per he pretty much has to play in the top 6. So let’s say he does and he scores 20 ish goals and 40-50 points a year for the next 4 years is it still a bad deal? it seems bad this year cuase now we don’t have any cap space left but next year wideman smid engelland contracts end so maybe it’s not so bad. I dunno. Thoughts?

    • DoubleDIon

      Why would you anticipate an aging player to have a career season? He’s more likely to decline over last year than improve. Really poor value on this one.

      • GodsGotSandals

        Well I wasn’t anticipating a career year he’s kind been a 20 goal 40 point guy for awhile. I do agree he will probly get worse as time goes on though. But some players keep playing well when they’re 34 not saying he will or won’t just that it’s possible.

        I guess 20ish goal 30-40 point guy is more accurate. Lotta money and term for that.

  • Juan Valdez

    He’s a clutch player, but this is a horrendous contract. Hopefully there’s still a spot available on the 4th line for Hathaway because I liked the energy he brought last year when he was called up from Stockton.

  • BigRig91

    Makes no sense about big Joe. You bring him to UFA status because you are worried about paying him 3.5 million over two years. So you then let him sign for 2.5 over 2 year kinda the exact deal you were looking for . Guy is a stud in the community and not bad on the ice. Everyone rips the kid for a slow start, but fails to remember the kid was coming off wrist surgery over the summer and fought with it right into main camp. Maybe just a rant but kinda pissed about this one . We let him go for nothing terrible asset management. Worse move Tre has done yet , just can’t figure it out.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      Yup. REALLY bad asset management!!!

      If this was the plan we should have traded Joe.

      The Brouwer signing is like the Bickell signing a few years ago: have a good playoffs and sign a huge contract he can’t live up to.

      Here I was thinking we were going to be rid of our bad contracts next year….


      • DoubleDIon

        Exactly. I was so looking forward to Stajan and Bouma being our only bad money. Just as I was really starting to trust this management group they go and do something stupid like this.

    • Franko J

      I guess in Treliving’s eye he covets Bolllig and Bouma more than Colbourne.

      If he wasn’t going to sign Joe he should have tried to move him at the draft. Maybe there was no takers. Then again I think when it comes to free agency on July 1, every GM make moves that come back to bite them in the butt.

  • DoubleDIon

    Wow. The deals Stempniak and Colborne signed are way better value than Brouwer. Comparable players and way less money and term. Treliving has done poor work in free agency overall. Raymond, Engelland, Hiller and now Brouwer are all bad deals. Only Frolik and Johnson at decent value. He should take a 2 week holiday after the draft.

  • Craig

    We tried the Colbourne experiment, I can’t believe people are saying they’d rather have him than Brouwer.
    I have never seen the play die on anyone’s stuck as much as Joe Colbourne. He was an absolute anchor on the ice.
    At least Brouwer is going to bring something to the table, without needing marshmallow soft minutes and first liners to boost his stats.
    This is a very different player, that I think will bring a lot to the table that Colbourne didn’t.

    • BigRig91

      Kinda like the Brouwer signing . Short term deal four year only not bad money if you ask me. But letting Joe walk for free . Come on man like him or not the guy was 26 6’5″ former first rounder 19 goals 44 point RFA and you let him walk for nothing. NOTHING worse move ever. If you are mad about Brouwer you should be pissed about Joe.

    • BigRig91

      Kinda like the Brouwer signing . Short term deal four year only not bad money if you ask me. But letting Joe walk for free . Come on man like him or not the guy was 26 6’5″ former first rounder 19 goals 44 point RFA and you let him walk for nothing. NOTHING worse move ever. If you are mad about Brouwer you should be pissed about Joe.

    • BigRig91

      Kinda like the Brouwer signing . Short term deal four year only not bad money if you ask me. But letting Joe walk for free . Come on man like him or not the guy was 26 6’5″ former first rounder 19 goals 44 point RFA and you let him walk for nothing. NOTHING worse move ever. If you are mad about Brouwer you should be pissed about Joe.

  • Kevin R

    Wholly smokes! Brouwer’s last 3 seasons are all pretty consistent around the 40 point range. He played on the 2nd line in St Louis, not too shabby. I wish I can bring up all the venom posts & comments about Colborne the last few years. I remember defending him on occasion because he actually had some decent games & was still getting trashed on Flames nation. But he was as inconsistent as you could get & too many times looked like a 4th line forward. Now I see all the crying that he’s gone?????? Now Brouwer is being reigned the next horrible contract & he hasn’t even played a game in a Flames Jersey. Wow. Just wow! Maybe people should start drinking, maybe it will help them forget about their dementia. People, we just got a 2nd line RW. I prefer him to Hudler at this point. Colborne shouldn’t even be in this comparison.

    • freethe flames

      For me it’s not the player it’s the cost. However in saying that when I look at the other FA contracts signed it is not as bad as some. In Bouwer’s defense he has played 82 games each of the last three years and has been around the 20 goal mark each season. What did we need? A complementary player who can play on either of our top 2 lines; what did we get a complementary player who can play on our top 2 lines. Do I wish it had been less money; yes. It would have allowed us to do more.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      We just got a second line RW?!

      After all this we STILL don’t have a top line RW……

      Put the Brouwer term in perspective: he and Lucic will be the same age when their contracts are over…yes, that massive boat anchor contract Lucic just signed…


      • Kevin R

        Walter what’s your point here? Brouwer & Lucic play similar games one is known for fighting & being dirty than the other. So we get Lucic lite. From what I saw from your posts in 2 years Oilers will be miserable about that Lucic contract & they have 5 more years versus our 2 left at a cheaper cap hit. We needed to get somebody, would you have preferred to compete with the Oilers for Lucic & give him more money & term to get him here? We weren’t getting Okposo, so who else was there at RW? The guy get 18-20+ goals for the last 6-7 years. He’s a scorer & yes he’ll fit on the top 2 lines. In fact, I predict he’ll probably have a career year next year with the players & opportunity he is probably going to get.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        I like the signing. I am not sure where we would get the money to pay a first line winger…. Unless teams allow payment with magic beans. Brouwer was highly sought after especially after a strong playoffs. He is exactly what we need.

  • everton fc

    Vanek is being paid 2.6mill for one year. Far better production than Brouwer. I know he has his issues (so did Kessel, and I’m not saying Vanek is anything like Kessel), but Vanek could have produced points here. 1 year at 2.6mill is a low-risk deal.

    I like Brouwer here. But 4.5mill is a bad deal by BT and Burke. They are not the best, in the free agent space (Raymond, Engelland, now Brouwer)

    • TheoForever

      Vanek is a terrible role model to have around, he mails it in and his compete level is zero.

      Brouwer is a good player, and brings a lot more to the table than a hero chart. Still too much money.

      The fact we let go of Joe C. and got nothing for him, speaks of very short sided thinking by BT.

      I give him C-/D+ for today, the draft days were better at A-/B+.

      • Joe Flames

        I watched Vanek play for years in Buffalo, the only times he consistently played hard all season was when he was playing for a contract. Then after he got his first big contract not even then. Sure he might score 25 but brings nothing else to the team and actually hurts the team with his sulking and lack of effort.

        Brouwer should get 20 but brings many other things such as leadership, work ethic and some toughness. I think he could fit well on our top line. I’d rather see a true first line RW but he’s a better fit than anyone else on our roster right now. (it is best to leave Frolic with Backlund). Or Brouwer could fit well with Bennett too. Brouwer Bennett and Tkachuk would be a touch line to play against once Tkachuk is ready.

        As for his lack of stats with Washington, people often think a guy will start scoring more just because he gets traded to a team with stars. But players like Ovechkin and Backstrom have the puck all the time, so it doesn’t matter who they play with, they are not passing him the puck very often, only to each other. I used to see that with Mario Lemieux all the time, they would put some career 50 point guy on his line and people would take him early in their pool expecting him to suddenly score 80. Except he never did.

  • K Theory

    I’m actually quite happy with this signing. We paid a little more than ideal, due to the day on the calendar, but Brouwer is a still a very solid pickup. I’m sure that without his brutal OZS% deployment, he’d do a lot better on the counting stats.

    One of the key stats that I find to be pretty enlightening is to compare how often a player starts vs. finishes in the offensive zone. I.e., how effective they are at pushing the play up the ice. It’s a handy compliment to the raw CF% numbers. By that metric, Brouwer was absolutely one of the best on the Blues (behind Backes).

    Compare him to FlamesNation darlings Backlund and Frolik. Stats below are all for 5v5 play.

    T.Brouwer: 48.9
    M.Frolik: 51.44
    M.Backlund: 52.33

    ZSR -> ZFR (Change%)
    T.Brouwer: 38.7 -> 45.5 (+6.8%)
    M.Frolik: 48.0 -> 49.7 (+1.7%)
    M. Backlund: 49.08 -> 51.02 (+1.9%)

    I also think that he’ll help out our special teams quite a lot. He scored at a higher rate on the PP than just about anyone on the flames.Take a look at his goal difference (For – Against) on the power play:

    PP GF-GA-GD/60
    T.Brouwer: 7.2 // -0.8 // 6.4
    S.Monahan: 7.1 // -0.4 // 6.7
    M.Gio: 7.4 // 0.8 // 6.4

    Penalty kill rates will also put him right at the top of the Flames. Take a look at his goal difference (Against-For) on penalty kill:

    PK GF-GA-GD/60
    T.Brouwer: 0.0 // -4.9 // -4.9
    M.Frolik: 2.0 // – 7.7 // – 5.7
    M.Backlund: 2.0 // -7.5 // -5.5

    All in all, I think that there is a lot more to Brouwer’s game that might meet the eye at a first glance. I’m sure that he’ll be a solid contributor and will give decent (not great) value for what he’s paid.

  • RedMan

    So, the ONLY way Colborne gets ANY love here at FN is to sign somewhere else? He was all but ran out of town with pitchfork and torch here, but now everyone is crying like we lost Gretzky?

    And now I see Brouwer is the new whipping boy that FN will be hating on jest because.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    So Moon was PDC when he postulated about re-signing Joe Joe for 3years and $8million.

    Giving a 4-year deal to a 31 year old power forward with a lot of mileage on his engine and frame is insane when he is not the final missing piece that will bring your team cup glory. Granted he has been productive and healthy these last several seasons, but 31 in the new NHL is like 37 in the old NHL. When Brouwer breaks down it will be fast and big, no gradual decline. No more than 2 years into the deal, Flames fans will be wishing this contract would fly away.

    I also think the point made by someone that Brouwer is at best a 2nd line right winger who might be asked to play first line minutes makes a lot of sense. If Johnny and Monahan are world class in their positions, then sticking a plug like Brouwer with them hardly makes me think he is going to help them elevate their games. Asking a 2nd line winger to play on a 1st line is like asking a boy to do a man’s job.

    That being said, Brouwer might be a good pickup in the first year of his new deal, but I cringe thinking about the last 2 years.

  • loudogYYC

    For everyone saying we could’ve had Colborne for $2.5M, reports said that he and his agent were looking for over $3.5M from the Flames. Not qualifying him to avoid arbitration was the right move even though it exposed him to free agency. Even if he did sign for $2.5M, how does Colborne and his playing style fit this team? It doesn’t. He’s a big guy that plays like a small guy, takes really dumb penalties and doesn’t bring a ton of Hockey IQ.

    I’d prefer Brouwer at $3.9M, but his game is pretty established and although he doesn’t project as a 30 goal scorer, he’s good at his role and will likely fit very nicely with either Monahan, Bennett or Backlund.