Brooks Laich has been a fixture on the Washington Capitals since we traded Peter Bondra to Ottawa in 2004 and since then he has been a fan favorite. Often dubbed the “nice guy” on the Caps, Brooks has cemented most of his past three seasons on the disabled list. Bruce Boudreau once said that he thought Brooks had not reached his peak and expected the center to be a 25-30 goal scorer for years in the league. Maybe he was on to something; he scored a career high 25 goals during the 09-10 season and looked well on his way to being that dreaded clean-up center that the team so drastically needed.
The injury bug began to bite Brooks hard at the beginning of the 2012 season often spending most of his time on the DL for long stretches. Players get hurt, that’s not the issue with Brooks. No, the issue is Brooks continuing to re-injury the same injury that has plagued him for the past 3 or 4 years. THE GROIN. Groin injuries are tough to treat, because unlike broken bones there really is nothing you can do for it. It’s a rest injury and Brooks is such a gamer that he often comes back too soon only to be out again.
So, what do we do with him?
This is a big year for Brooks and he needs to stay healthy. His production has been down due to his inability to stay on the ice. He causes the Caps another problem in terms of the large contract and salary that he is owed.
It would be as no surprise to any if the Caps dealt Brooks sometime during the season or at the trade deadline. With GMBM changing the landscape of the team, 21 needs to find his spot on the roster and on a line where he can produce. With the emergence of Michael Latta, Laich is sure to fight for a spot on either the 3rd or 4th line. If the beginning of the season was tomorrow the 3rd line would normally look like: Chimera-Laich-Beagle. However, no one knows if Marcus Johansson will be slotted on the 2nd or 3rd line. It is a crowded bus for the final six forward spots which could leave Brooks up in the press box watching a lot of games from the Healthy Scratch list as opposed to his normal Disabled List.
With the losses of Joel Ward and Eric Fehr he should be a prominent fixture on the penalty kill that was pretty solid last year. So pairing Laich and Beagle on a line together will probably be the move for Barry Trotz. But paying a guy that much money to be on the 3rd or 4th line center is not something that will benefit the club unless he production starts to go up.
When you take a look at his production just in the past 2 seasons he is not producing at a rate that warrants the kind of money that he is receiving.
21 started picking up his end of the slack towards the end of the season and in to the playoffs. In the playoffs any production is good production.
Brooks is a great guy and an amazing fan communicator. He has a gorgeous girlfriend(who is almost as good of a dancer as me)and is active in charities. As a person he is everything you want in a Capital and more — as a player he is leaving much to be desired.
Will he produce and stick with the Caps, or will he get traded thus making this chapter of his career in the Brooks?
By Chris McIntosh