Throughout the coming weeks, CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2014-15 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Troy Brouwer
Position: Right Wing
Age: 29 [turns 30 Aug. 17]
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 220
Penalty minutes: 53
Average Ice Time: 17:31
Contract Status: 1 year remaining on 3-year, $11 million contract [2015-16 salary: $3.75 million; cap hit: $3.6 million]
Strengths: As a second-line right wing, Brouwer did just about everything for the Capitals this season, from playing the diamond on the power play and playing on the top penalty-killing unit with Brooks Laich to taking key faceoffs and providing a net-front presence on a nightly basis. Despite a slow start, Brouwer finished the regular season second on the Caps with 21 goals, eight of them coming on the power play and two while shorthanded. He also averaged 2:06 of penalty kill time, second among forwards behind Laich [2:10]. Despite playing on the right side, Brouwer took 441 faceoffs, fourth on the club behind centers Nicklas Backstrom, Eric Fehr and Evgeny Kuznetsov, and won a team-high 56.9 percent of them. Brouwer also performed well in real-time stats, finishing second behind Alex Ovechkin in hits with 206 and fourth in blocked shots with 39. He was also tied with Marcus Johansson for first among Caps regulars in shooting percentage [14.5].
Room for improvement: Playoff performance. It is difficult to go deep in the playoffs when your second leading scorer does not score a goal in the playoffs. In 14 playoff games Brouwer had just three assists, was a minus-3 and took five minor penalties. In his playoff career with the Capitals, Brouwer has played in 35 playoff games and has just three goals, six assists and is a minus-5. That’s not enough from a player who was brought to Washington to help get them over the hump in the post-season. If the Caps continue to use Brouwer in the diamond on the power play, he'll need to produce more from that spot to keep teams from shadowing Alex Ovechkin in the left circle.
Memorable Moment: The setting could not have been more perfect. A sun-splashed 2015 Winter Classic at Nats Park. The Caps on the power play in the closing minute of a tied game. A sellout crowd on its feet. His father, Don, who watched him win a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010 from a hospital bed after suffering a stroke, in the stands. That was the backdrop when Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation on Jan. 1, 2015, giving the Caps a thrilling 3-2 win.
Quotable: “I’ve had some good moments in my hockey career, but this one, with all the intangibles, that played a part in it. My parents being able to come into town, playing against my former team, this being the first goal that I scored against my former team and the dramatic fashion at the end of the game of how everything played out is definitely going to, you know, it’s going to be a memorable day.” – Brouwer after scoring the winning goal in the 2015 Winter Classic
2015-16 Expectations: Brouwer is getting paid second-line money, but he’s probably best suited to be a third-line right wing. The Caps could create some cap space by moving Brouwer at the draft, but they’d probably be better off promoting Andre Burakovsky, Tom Wilson or a proven goal-scorer to that spot and slotting Brouwer on the third line, where his 20 goals and 20 assists would be far more impactful.