CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Troy Brouwer
Position: Right Wing
HtWt: 6-3, 213
Penalty minutes: 61
Average Ice Time: 17:10
Contract Status: 1 year remaining on 2-year, 4.7 million contract 2.35 million cap hit; UFA in 2013
Strengths: At 26, Brouwer is a hard-hitting, shot-blocking, straight-talking forward in the prime of his career. A durable right wing who has missed just seven games in his past three NHL seasons, Brouwer can play in all situations and spent much of this season as a defensive safety valve on a top line with Alex Ovechkin and either Brooks Laich or Marcus Johansson.
Weaknesses: Brouwer tied with defenseman John Carlson and right wing Mike Knuble with a team-worst minus-15 but probably deserved better. Although he spent much of the season on the Caps top line he seemed to be most effective on a checking line with Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle. To be a legitimate top-line forward, Brouwer will need to work on his finishing skills.
Memorable Moment on the ice: On Jan. 13, two nights after leading the Capitals with a season-high 11 hits in a win over Pittsburgh, Brouwer recorded his first career hat trick, scoring on the power play, at even strength and into an empty net. He also delivered a crushing check on Marty St. Louis that resulted in a double minor and sparked a Lightning comeback that fell one goal short.
Memorable Moment off the ice: As one of just two Capitals with a Stanley Cup ring, Brouwers voice carried significant weight in the locker room and he had no problem challenging his more famous teammates. Following a series-opening 3-1 loss to the Rangers, Brouwer challenged Ovechkin to create more scoring opportunities by becoming less predictable. Hes gotta learn, Brouwer said. You see all the time he comes down the left side and those D-men are standing right up on him and he doesn't have much of a play. Hes got to learn hes got to come back into the defensive zone and give himself a little more space, a little more speed, and hell have more scoring opportunities.
2012-13 Expectations: With the ice time he receives Brouwer could be a 25- to 30-goal scorer and if hes able to hit those numbers next season hell be rewarded with a hefty contract. The Capitals would be wise to lock up Brouwer for the next three or four years, but as a potential UFA the challenge will be convincing him to stay in Washington beyond next season