Let’s talk Troy Brouwer

The Flames’ big get in free agency this summer was Troy Brouwer. Unlike most of Treliving’s moves over the last 12 months or so, the addition of Brouwer is somewhat divisive. On one hand, the former Blackhawk seems to fill a primary need on the team: he’s big, right handed, a veteran and a consistent 17-20 goal scorer. 

On the other hand, Brouwer will be 31 years old when the season starts and his new contract, worth $4.5M per year, will stretch until 2019-20 when he’ll turn 35. His deal also comes with a NTC and he’s a guy who has never scored more than 43 points in a season, despite skating with some pretty good line mates.

I’ll take you through why this is probably a bad bet. And maybe why the Flames took it anyways. 

Brouwer is big, tough and has won a Cup. Don’t the Flames need exactly this type of player?

It depends on how much you weight those of factors. Conventionally, NHL teams like to have at least a couple of “big bodies” in their lineup, particularly in their top six. There’s also a lot of talk about the value of “heavy hockey” as well, particularly in the Western Conference thanks to the success of clubs like San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles and St. Louis. Of course, what often isn’t talked about in this context is the fact that three of the Western Conference’s biggest teams (Arizona, Winnipeg and Colorado) were also it’s worst last year, but we won’t get into that now.

Having Cup experience is also often talked about a value add with players, though no one has ever really offered any definitive evidence that this sort of thing actually helps teams (aside from anecdotes and generalities of course). 

In the end, I’m not against those qualities, but I’m sensitive to NHL executives potentially overestimating their value. It’s interesting to see how much added interest and value a 40-point player gets once you add the qualifier of “big bodied” next to it. The obvious qualifier being that bigger doesn’t necessarily make a guy’s points more valuable or ensure he drives a higher goal differential when he’s on the ice.

So… kinda is what you’re saying?

Sure. I’m okay with the Flames getting bigger and (functionally) tougher, assuming that leads to better overall outcomes. 

Doesn’t Brouwer do that? He’s a pretty consistent goal scorer.

One of the best things about Brouwer is his goal scoring. In fact, he’s a career 14% shooter, which is an excellent scoring rate. Jarome Iginla, for instance, is about a 12-13% shooter over his career. 

Two types of players in the NHL shoot in the mid-teens like that: snipers with way above average shooting ability; and crease crashers, who are adept at banging in rebounds and goal mouth scrambles. 

Brouwer is the latter. Over the last three seasons, his average shot distance from the net is only about 28 feet, which is about three feet or closer than most forwards.

That’s not a bad thing, because crease crashing itself is kind of skill. That said, it’s not the same as being a preternaturally adept sniper who can pick corners or rifle shots over a goalie’s shoulder from the top of the circle. Crease crashers are more reliant on linemates getting the puck to the net for them as a result.

That means the Flames are making a bet on Brouwer’s style of hockey meshing with Monahan, Gaudreau or Bennett?


Brouwer is good around the net and he’s strong down low, so the thinking here is the kids can move the puck through the neutral zone and then Brouwer can help them cycle it against other big bodies in the zone and crash the net. They probably envision him standing in front of the goalie on the PP as well. And fair enough – he has scored 27 PP goals over the last three years.

That all sounds good. So what’s the problem?

There are three concerns when it comes to Brouwer. I’ll list them all here and then we’ll work through each of them in turn.

1.) Despite his great personal SH%, Brouwer is a mediocre even strength scorer.

2.) Players Brouwer’s age tend to see their scoring rate erode rapidly.

3.) Brouwer is also middling possession player.

Wait, Brouwer is a steady 40-point getter. That’s pretty good. How do you call that mediocre?

I said mediocre even strength scorer. Although Brouwer puts up decent totals every year, the truth is his career even strength scoring rate (points per minutes played) is what you might expect from the average third liner. 

Let’s put it in context. Brouwer’s ESP/60 (even strength points per 60) over the last three seasons is 1.38. Above average first liners are usually around 2.00 or better. The Mendoza line for top six players is about 1.8. Conversely, guys around 1.00 or below are usually grinders or enforcers. That puts Brouwer a bit behind the league’s legit scorers and a little closer to the fourth line replacement players. 

Putting some names to these numbers might help. Over the same period of time (the last three seasons), Matt Stajan’s ESP/60 is… 1.38. Lance Bouma’s is 1.35.

What? Then why has Brouwer scored so many more points than those guys over the last three seasons?

For two reasons: 

1.) Because his style of game and subsequent high personal SH% convinces coaches to play him a lot more with better players and on the PP. Over that period of time, Brouwer has played almost 700 more minutes than Stajan and almost 900 more minutes than Bouma at 5on5 alone. 

2.) Because he also plays on the PP a lot more than your average third liner. Again, NHL coaches like his game style and the fact that he scores on a higher rate of his shots than guys like Bouma and Stajan. 

Here’s the weird thing though – despite Brouwer’s better personal SH%, each guy mentioned has almost the same rate of goals per 60 minutes of even strength ice: 0.56 (Stajan), 0.56 (Brouwer), Bouma (0.54). To be fair, Bouma has an outlier season skewing that number (2014-15), but it’s surprising nevertheless. 

So, the real difference is that Brouwer is a decent PP scorer, gets time with the man advantage and plays a lot at ES. Bouma and Stajan (and most third other liners) don’t. 

And how do you know his scoring rate is going to fall?

We certainly don’t know it for sure because no one can perfectly predict the future. But we do know the average rate of decline for NHL forwards, which we can use to determine some expected scoring rates for Brouwer.


As you can see, NHLers tend to peak scoring wise in their mid-20’s and then see things fall off rapidly after 30. From the linked article: “On average, players retain about 90% of their scoring through age 29, but the drop from there is pretty sharp — they hit 80% at age 31, 70% at age 32-33, and 60% at age 35.”

If we round up and say Brouwer is a true 1.40 ESP/60 scorer, we can reasonably expect him to drop to 1.12 by as early as next next year and be down to about 0.84 by the final season in Calgary. That’s around the same scoring rate as Brandon Bollig. 

Obviously, every player is different and Brouwer’s drop won’t necessarily be direct and linear. Heck, if he gets cherry minutes with Gaudreau and Monahan this year, I’d expect his scoring rate to actually increase as a matter of course at least for one season. 

These numbers simply highlight the level of risk in the Brouwer contract. His scoring rate is already low enough such that If he takes any sort of step back he hits fourth liner territory – and he’s entering the period of his career when we would expect that to happen (and to accelerate over time!). 

What’s more, big guys who aren’t exactly fleet of foot aren’t known to age well in the NHL either. 

Well even if Brouwer isn’t a great scorer for his whole contract, at least he can be a good grinder or shutdown guy, right?

Not really. 

That brings us back to the possession thing. Brouwer doesn’t drive play. Like his scoring rate, his shot generation and shot suppression rates tend to hover around the average third liner. Observe:

Story 1-7

The stuff we’re talking about is the lower, right hand bars above – shot generation, shot suppression and productive (relative) possession. This is relevant, because in the end there’s only a few ways to drive goal differential at even strength in the NHL: by driving scoring or by driving possession (elite players do both at the same time). If you’re not a great scorer and not a great possession guy, then you tend to get outscored pretty consistently. No matter how big bodied you are. 

The thing about shutdown guys is you at least need them to be able to suppress shots against. Brouwer doesn’t – or at least hasn’t to this point in his career.

You’re depressing me.

Sorry about that. It’s probably not all bad though. 

Let’s be fair to Brouwer – he played in some of the tougher circumstances for the Blues last year, so his results are likely somewhat suppressed by low offensive zone starts and tough competition. 

That said, his most frequent linemates over the last couple of seasons have been nothing to sneeze at: David Backes, Paul Stastny, Robbi Fabbri, Alex Steen, Marcus Johansson, Evgeni Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom. Brouwer faced tough sledding, but he didn’t go it alone. 

Alright smart ass, why did the Flames do this then? Are you saying Treliving is dumb?

Not at all. 

In the end, the Flames really needed to do something about their RW depth and were likely out of the running for the (very small number of) established guys who were available given their cap situation. All the other quality UFA options got more money and longer term, so Brouwer became the first/best guy in the “next tier” down. 

His intangibles and game style probably put him over the top, but in reality Brouwer is something of stop gap measure for now. Treliving didn’t want to be caught standing without a chair when the music stopped and the four years, $4.5M and NTC were the price of doing business in a shallow free agent market. Also, the Flames GM probably didn’t want to bet on an unknown guy given how questionable the organization’s starboard side is already.

Although $4.5M will likely seem expensive for Brouwer by year three and four of his deal, it’s not so much that it will cripple the club – mostly because they have a lot of bad money coming off the books next summer. If Treliving can avoid three or four more Brouwer-type bets with those freed up dollars, the player can be eased into a “veteran leader who is kinda overpaid” role without too much consternation.

So from an organizational perspective, Brouwer was the best veteran available given needs and prices and the hope is his style of play will mesh with some of the key difference makers up front. At least for a year or two while Treliving tries to further improve the Flames’ winger depth. 

And heck, if the deal goes bad immediately, they can always hope Brouwer gets claimed in the expansion draft next summer, right?

  • Stud Puffin

    Great article Kent! Definitely not thrilled with the contract, but I do see him as an improvement over what we had. Appreciate you including the rationale from the Flames perspective as to why they made the move anyway instead of the usual BT and BB are dumb arguments that are all over Twitter.

  • DoubleDIon

    It’s rare that good buys happen July 1st. I didn’t like this signing. I felt it was a year too long and a million too much. I felt like we could do something stupid next offseason once most of our stupid money came off the books.

    I’m hoping it’s an indication that Monahan and Gaudreau are going to be less expensive than I thought they’d be or Treliving has a destination in mind for Wideman. If neither of those two things are true than this was really poor.

    He does fill a need though, which I guess is a good thing.

    • freethe flames

      Pretty much what I thought as well but anytime you sign a high profile UFA who had a good playoff you over pay. I suspect we see him on the first PP unit but I would not be surprised to see him as Bennett’s RW. We still could use another top 9 RW option; hopefully it comes as part of a move for Wideman.

      • DoubleDIon

        For sure. You never see bargains July 1st. If we can move out Wideman I’d love us to take a shot on Pirri. Some of the data on him astounded me. 13th in the league in goals per 60? Had no clue. He might be a cheapish signing too. Could be good value.

        • freethe flames

          The question with Wideman becomes clearer I think after a few UFA defenders get signed. It’s interesting how quickly the higher end forwards went but the defenders are not getting signed(maybe a sign that they are not as good as they think they are). After looking at the various teams out there I think there are only 2/3 teams that have a need for a Wideman and the cap space those being Boston and NJ. All we can do is wait and see.

          • DoubleDIon

            I wonder if the Oilers would have interest too? They really need a viable PP option. Klefbom and Sekera really should be on your 2nd unit. Wideman wouldn’t be a bad fit there. I think you’re bang on about the UFA defenders not being as good as they think they are. I have time for Russell as a bottom pairing guy who can step into a middle pairing role when needed, but a 4 year ask at 20 million is crazy. He’s asking for legit top 4 money and he isn’t a legit top 4 defenseman.

  • Baalzamon

    I have some hope for Brouwer’s underlying results, given that the Blues foolishly utilized him like they thought he was Patrice Bergeron. I refer you to the PUC:


    Brouwer will undoubtedly move far to the right next season, over to where Monahan and Gaudreau are. Chiasson will move down if not right.

  • Bring Back Brathwaite

    4.5 just isn’t enough money to truly be angry at until we actually see incompetence on Brower’s part. I’m reserving judgement until the midway point of this season, at least. Even if everything that Kent points out holds true this season, he is still a serviceable RW and preferable to someone like Vey taking those top 6 mins.

    Brouwer is being dwelled on so much because we really don’t have anything else to complain about, besides maybe how long the kid’s contracts have been.

    Feel free to trash but I prefer Brouwer and his 4.5 contract until 2019-2020 to Gio’s 6.75 contract until 2022.

    • Feel free to trash but I prefer Brouwer and his 4.5 contract until 2019-2020 to Gio’s 6.75 contract until 2022.

      That’s bonkers. Giordano is a top-5 defender in the league and essentially irreplaceable. If there’s any player you take a chance on with a deal like that, it’s Gio.

      • Greg

        Question Kent – I’m not a fan of the contract either, and wonder who else BT should have looked at instead. Thoughts? Knowing we needed something more than, say, just a Brett Connolly type bet, and can’t afford the Lucic/Okposo/Backes/Ladd/Ericson tier guys, who would have made for a better signing in that mid-tier group, not named Brouwer?

        I haven’t looked at the options, so only name that comes to mind is Hudler. Not exciting, but I’d honestly rather go back to that well on a $4Mx3 contract (if possible) than this one.

        • Craig

          In my opinion this wouldn’t make sense, we tried Hudler, and last year it didn’t work at all.

          Brouwer brings something completely different to the table than Hudler, maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but it’s different, and looks to be an area the Flames need. (Size, Home plate scoring)

          • Greg

            I agree Hudler wouldn’t get us all excited. But… would what he brings really be less effective in accumulating Ws if he came on less dollars and term?

            Anyway, point of my question isn’t to suggest Hudler would have been a better option, but to ask what else would have been. I think we’re generally all glad to have Brouwer, and generally all iffy on what it cost to sign him, but it’s easy as heck to criticize, and much harder to offer better solutions. So I’d like to see some analysis on what would have been a better solution. Obviously I’m too lazy to skim more than the top 5 lines of who’s-left-articles 😛

            Perhaps the reality is, in the real UFA/Trade markets, there was nothing better. Which if that’s the case, and you accept that we needed something (which we did), then that makes the contract a lot more palatable.

  • FeyWest

    Pretty much all points I agree with, in the end its a decent enough pickup that hopefully one of our younger guys develops like we hope then he can be eased out further down the lineup. I think he’ll be good for 18-22 goals going into year 3. Assists I think will be high like Hudler’s due to his linemates.

    Basically, it all points to that 1/1 overpay, and hell who knows he may surprise. There are going to be Systems differences so we may see his possession rates boost up (Or drop but I hope not) all while maintaining his average.

    How much do you think Hitchcock’s style of play will be reminiscent of Gulutzen’s? That should give a good indication of where we can realistically prognosticate his production w/o knowing the linemate effects.

  • knee deep in it

    oiler fan here coming in peace. IMO, this is a decent signing because of context. A team built exclusively around possession guys would suffer the same fate as a team built exclusively around one other parameter like skill or size.

    Brouwer brings size to a team that was the 3rd smallest in the nhl last year. The oilers were 10th biggest at the start of the year and got a lot bigger since. The kings, sharks, and ducks are all much larger. If the Flames play too many consecutive games against large teams grinding them down, they will wilt and probably end up with injury issues.

    Finding top 6 size was a priority and this was a decent bet.

  • Jake the Snail

    If he is bad at scoring at even strength then he is good for the power play which is where the Flames are lacking.

    Maybe the change of scenery to Calgary and a happier wife making for a happier life will make him a better player.

    So much negativity written on a player who has’nt even practised with the team yet.

  • mattyc

    Another positive is that Brouwer has has a positive GF% almost his entire career (two exceptions are his first two years in WSH (the Hunter years, and one he missed half the year) when his PDO was 98 and 99.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Brouwer looks a bit like an intentional overpay for leadership, as well. I remember reading about how he’s supposed to be a very vocal guy in the room, and the Flames were particularly keen on that. Between his BBP, goal scoring, and leaderiness, I think Treliving was willing to accept the fact that he was going to overpay the guy by 25% or so.

    I will say it’s a little annoying to me that Brouwer is allegedly in love with Calgary and was totally psyched to come here since he was going to retire here anyway, and yet he still took the Flames to the cleaners on the contract.

    • DoubleDIon

      Treliving was talking a lot about his vocal leadership in the interview he did on Brouwer on 960. I don’t hate the signing. Just wish it was a million less and a year less. If it was I’d be happy with it.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      What do you mean he was going to retire here? He has retired here with a $4.5M a year pension for 4 years and no matter how much he sucks, the Flames can’t trade him. Wideman again again.

      31 year old big bodies age very fast in today’s NHL.

      Let’s also remember that he is a 2nd or 3rd liner who will be given a shot at playing 1st line minutes. Not sure the old man will be able to keep up with Gaudreau.

  • Craig

    I’m a big proponent of advanced stats, and I think they help tell a much larger story around players. However here is how I’m going to think of this one:

    The role that Brouwer is brought in to play is what they tried to make Colbourne do last year. I think that although more expensive Brouwer will be much more effective at it.

    I watched two years of the play dying on Colbournes stick, and him being used unfairly on the PP.

    At the very least we have a player that can stand in front of the net effectively!

    It doesn’t look to be a great contract, but I do really think Brouwer is the type of player the Flames need.

    You can’t measure a player solely on intangibles, but they also can’t be forgotten completely.

    Now If I see the play die on his stick after crossing into the offensive zone 6 times a game, then I’ll have a problem. (Thank god colborne is gone)

  • Greg

    Also, I gotta add, the thing that bugs me most about this contract is not Brouwer the player. It’s that we just cleared up probably the most ineffective $8M+ in goalie contracts (outside Dallas), we’re 1 year away from removing the bad-value contracts on the backend, and year after that we would have removed the bad-value contracts up front (Stajan and Bouma). This looks to be a bad-value contract by then (if not sooner).

    On it’s own, it’s probably not difficult to manage, but if we keep adding bad-value contracts as fast as we clear them, we’re always going to be hand-cuffed. You can’t build a contender when you’ve constantly got $10M+ sitting in the pressbox or playing in Stockton, and that’s something BT has gotta stop doing.

  • al rain

    @Kent Wilson

    There’s something I’ve been wondering about and this seems like a good time to bring it up.

    One of the things I enjoy is laughing at the Oilers and one of the reasons I believe they’ve sucked for the past oh, half-decade or so, is their dependence on young blood and the lack of role models. That whole lack of “veteran leadership” thing.

    When I heard we signed Brouwer I pictured him on the right side of Bennett and Tkachuk. The guy to show the youngsters how to be professionals off the ice while throwing his weight around and being the focal point for the physical stuff on the ice, if not exactly “protecting” them. This strikes me as the opposite of throwing a Hall or Draisaitl into a leadership role right out of junior.

    So my question is, how much do guys like Bennett and Tkachuk owe guys like Brouwer for becoming the stars they become? We know Brouwer is a heart and soul player, so is it a calculation to have some of that rub off on the other guys? How much did Johnny benefit from Hudler? Sid from Mario? Can the value of a player be more than his counting stats (and fancy stats) and include how he affects the success of other franchise cornerstones?

    Until I hear otherwise I’ll call this the Crash Davis effect.

    • Nick24

      Edmonton had bigger problems than just being without veteran leadership. They were not able to bring in a good enough supporting cast to really benefit the team. They’ve always had a poor defense, and when they got rid of Dubnyk they had really bad goal tending too.

      It probably does help to have leadership, but why can’t that leadership come from coaches? But if it has to come from a player, why does it have to come from an overpaid player? What’s wrong with Stajan, Engelland, Bollig, or Wideman? Or why couldn’t leadership come from Brad Boyes, or someone who else who can score similarly, but you can get on a better deal?

      Heck you could take the money spent on Brouwer and sign two or three players to a collectively smaller sum than what Brouwer’s contract is worth, and be just as well, if not better off.

      I really don’t buy the notion that in 5,6,7 years from now we’re going to be saying “Thank god Bennett, Gaudreau, and Monahan had Troy Brouwer to bring them into the League!”

  • RKD

    It’s a steep price to pay in terms of AAV and term but I feel Brouwer provides a lot more than guys like Bollig or Engelland could ever provide. I don’t think the Brouwer deal is going to be an albatross like Wideman’s deal. The Flames were going to trade him anyway. Brouwer will be good fit on the right side, he will kill penalties, go to the front of the net hard, get some pp time. He’s more versatile than some of the other players we’ve had here. He’s still got some gas left in the tank.

      • KiLLKiND

        I hope we don’t protect him, Brouwer getting claimed would be perfect. We don’t lose a player that would actually be on the team when the Flames are competitive, and we got most likely the best year of his play on the contract. Plus I am hoping Ferland has a bounce back year and the Flames protect him.

        Another option for expansion is to trade Backlund for a 1st at the deadline and protect Jokipakka instead of 2 forwards. We get to still protect Gaudreau, Monhan, Frolik, and Bennett and our top 4 D.

        • Baalzamon

          Where did you get the idea that Ferland wouldn’t be protected? Rules say seven forwards. Here are the seven:

          Gaudreau, Monahan, Bennett, Backlund, Frolik, Brouwer, Ferland

          Only players exposed are Stajan, Bouma, Chiasson, Vey, Bollig, and Jooris (if he’s signed). Jokipakka or perhaps Johnson will be the one claimed. The rest are safe.

      • urbzy

        Thanks man. But what makes you so sure they’ll protect him? If he doesn’t perform as advertised and another good RW opportunity presents itself, why not expose him to the expansion draft?

        • Baalzamon

          Well mostly I can’t think of seven eligible forwards the Flames would sooner protect. I can think of six:

          Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennett, Backlund, Frolik, and Ferland.

          After then, who do you protect before Brouwer? Jooris? Chiasson? Keep in mind that it’s bad form to sign a player to a long term contract and then ditch him at the first opportunity.

          • Greg

            Sometimes I wonder though… say JJ has a ~25 point season with solid possession stats. Would the flames consider protecting him, and only protecting 4 forwards? Seems pretty obvious you’d lose whichever of Backlund or Frolik you didn’t protect, but if JJ is looking like a long term #4 option, it keeps your D intact for the foreseeable future.

  • PrairieStew

    Andrew Ladd is the same age as Brouwer – he got 3 years more and a million more per year. Loui Eriksson also is 30 and he got 2 more years and $1.5 per year more. Okposo also got 3 years longer(though he’s 2 years younger) and $1.5 more. Given that market, 4 x $4.5 not too bad.

    • Joe Flames

      I think BT is counting on some of our prospects being on the team by the end of Brouwer’s contract. That makes the 4.5 million cap hit much easier.
      Looking at how much talent we have at the prospect camp we should have at least 2-3 roster spots on cheap contracts four years from now.

    • SmellOfVictory

      All of those guys have career scoring paces 50% higher than Brouwer’s (well, Ladd’s isn’t quite, but he’s about 25% higher).

      I get that Brouwer’s contract is a little less handcuffy, but it’s still an overpay, in my opinion. And teams shouldn’t overpay for not-that-great middle 6 PP specialists. I could understand giving 6 mil to Eriksson because he’s a really good all-around player. I don’t understand giving so much to Brouwer. I’d like him at 3.5 mil or less, but not at 4.5

  • Jake the Snail

    The moneys given Brouwer for the Flames and Lucic for the Oilers will be recouped if the teams make the playoffs even if they get bounced in the first round, so the final two years of their contracts will be paid for even if they decline.

    I am more concerned of a totally new coaching staff at the beginning of the season; if they start slow out of the gate the season could be a disaster again.

    • Greg

      It’s not the money I care about. That’s the owners money, they can burn it if they like. It’s the salary cap space I care about as a fan.

      Between Wideman, Stajan, Smid, Engelland, Bouma, Bollig, and Raymond, the Flames will have almost $20M on their 4th line, bottom pairing, press box, farm club, or even other team’s every night. That’s ~25% of all the cap space they can use to be competitive. For roles that should be taking up less than 10%. Even an expansion team wouldn’t have to settle for that.

      Think about how much that would impact your competitiveness this year if we’d an extra $11-12M to spend on your top 6?

      BT’s made some great trades, good picks, and even some decent value signings. But over the next 2 seasons, if the flames are going to go from playoff hopeful to cup contender, he’s gotta start allocating cap space more effectively.

  • The Beej

    His PP production was noted in this article but Brouwer plays on the PK too. I think this move was not just about an RW but also about addressing our special teams.

    I wasnt stoked at first but I am warming up to this move a bit and to be fair to Trliv… this is young team that could use a vet and as Kent said… he kinda had to do something here… its like his job so…

  • Franko J

    Optically to me it appears Brouwer replaces Jones on the right side. Therefore I can see him bouncing from line to line. There will be some good games and some so/so games. Overall for this season I don’t see him being too much of a drop off from what was on the RW from last year.

    • wot96

      That’s probably a good comparison except that Brouwer seems to be better on the powerplay than Jones was and he’s less brittle, historically.

      @BMN – Gaudreau doesn’t burn you with blinding speed (like McJesus), he is a possession player. Brouwer just needs to be in the same postal code as Johnny to help with or finish off the cycle/play. This is exactly why Lucic/McJesus is a mismatch. Lucic cannot keep up with McJesus, who is probably most dangerous on the rush and not on the cycle or in possession (except on a breakaway or a pseudo-breakaway). Lucic might score some points cleaning up the garbage, but I don’t think he will be critical to McDavid’s success in any real way.

  • Burnward

    This is all kinds of awesome. From Gilbertson’s piece in the Herald Re: EETU!!!!

    “The scouts loved him, and he kinda showed us all today in Calgary what he’s all about,” said Flames assistant GM Craig Conroy. “And I think he’s got a great personality. You enjoy talking to him, and he’s bubbly and he’s having fun. I said to him, ‘Hey, great day today,’ and he said, ‘Every day playing hockey is great.’ That’s his personality, and that’s what makes him a guy you really like.

    “He must be pretty happy with himself, and it’s well-deserved. He had a great day.”

  • Greg

    The trash ratio on every comment suggesting this isn’t a good contract seems pretty high. Guess there’s a lot of people who think it’s good. Time will tell, but I’m still betting against it for now.

  • TheRealPoc

    Great article, Kent.

    Obviously Brouwer wasn’t the sexy RW signing that someone like Okposo would’ve been, but I really think this is a case of beggars not being able to be choosers – we couldn’t really afford to get into a bidding war for a $6M+ option like Okposo, nor could we overpay for an even bigger red flag like Backes. Now I imagine some will scoff at the “well, it could’ve been worse” logic being applied here, but it’s pretty simple: this club had basically zero right-handed forward depth at the NHL level heading into this offseason, and that had to be addressed somehow. I don’t think loading up exclusively on buy-low/reclamation projects was the optimal path forward – there’s no way IMO that cloning Alex Chiasson twice more would be preferable in the immediacy – and I also think there are some redeeming aspects of Brouwer’s fit with this team that make it a bit more palatable:

    1) Stylistically, a right-handed RW who drives the net should work well with the existing left-handed playmakers already entrenched in the top six (e.g. Gaudreau/Monahan, Bennett, etc.); Brouwer won’t be asked to carry the mail through the neutral zone but he should still benefit from the creativity of players around him, w.r.t. boxcar totals (much like he has elsewhere, as Kent outlined).

    2) Having a right-hander available on the PP (who isn’t a pointman) is still important – yes, we’re all freaking out about the Cameron hire, but leaving that aside for a minute, adding a piece who allows us the ability to throw different looks out there at 5v4 can’t be considered a negative. I honestly think his handedness and willingness to set up shop as a net front presence will provide him a decent volume of PP scoring chances this year. And, as established above, at a career 14% clip, he’s not a bad triggerman to feed.

    3) It makes me cringe to invoke Nonis’ patented Clarkson defense, but in this case, I really do believe you’re less concerned about years 3 & 4 and far more concerned about years 1 (especially) & 2. To be blunt, we have exactly one year to enjoy the fruits of a potential league-best goaltending tandem at the absurd discounted price of $4.2M; that’s a cost advantage that simply won’t sustain moving forward. Add to that the harsh realities that a) your cornerstone franchise defenceman isn’t getting any younger and b) you only have two years left before Backlund breaks the bank in a big way (quite possibly not here)…and I think there’s justification for accelerating the plan a touch. Again, beggars can’t be choosers. Brouwer isn’t perfect, but it does address a major positional need.

    4) PS, and I think this is a big one, there is literally no way in hell that Brouwer needs protection for the expansion draft, and that does carry value. You won’t miss him if he is plucked, but most importantly, it narrows down the field of protection candidates even further.

    I’m hoping for a bump in HRR that makes this deal less and less of the overall cap space allotment over its duration; still, either way, I don’t think this move was the unmitigated disaster we feared at the start, and I’m hopeful it works out for everyone.

  • Tenbrucelees

    Nice article. Thought the q+a format worked really well and stopped it from being a bit know it all which these stat analysis pieces have a tendency of having.
    Re Brouwer I simply see it as the best peg to fit into a huge RW hole. Crossing fingers that he is productive and complimentary to their style of play under gulitzen