Four years, 238 games played, 49 goals, 54 assists, and 103 points. That is the stat line for former Capitals forward Troy Brouwer, who returns to DC Saturday night as a member of the St. Louis Blues. NoVa Caps is taking a moment to say thanks.
Acquired by the Caps from the Chicago Blackhawks before the 2011 NHL Entry Draft for the Capitals’ first-round pick (which Chicago used on Phillip Danault), Brouwer was acquired by former Caps General Manager George McPhee to provide some scoring depth and an experienced leader (Brouwer won the Stanley Cup in 2010 with the Blackhawks).
In the subsequent four seasons, Brouwer proved to be a reliable player for the Capitals’ coaches, especially in manning the slot on the power play. Brouwer had two seasons of 20 or more goals, and had 18 power play goals with the team.
Brouwer also scored his first career hat trick in a Washington sweater. I was lucky enough to be at that game and the building was electrified. The Caps won the game 4-3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
While a hat trick was great, Brouwer’s most memorable moment as a Washington Capital came during the NHL’s annual Winter Classic (held in Washington) on January 1, 2015, when he scored the game-winning goal with just 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation against, ironically, the Blackhawks.
Spinning with the puck on his stick, Brouwer fired the puck somewhat blindly towards the net and was mobbed by his teammates when the puck slipped past Chicago netminder Corey Crawford. Little did anyone realize that the final months of the season would also be Brouwer’s last with the Caps.
On July 2, 2015, the Capitals traded Brouwer, a 2016 third-round pick, and goaltending prospect Pheonix Copley to the Blues for right wing T.J. Oshie. While Brouwer will always be a favorite of Caps fans, Oshie has proven to be the better player offensively. In DC, Brouwer played primarily on the second-line, as the Caps lacked a true Top Six right winger. In Oshie, the Capitals have found a reliable top-line right wing. In St. Louis, Brouwer has played mostly on the third-line, recording 15 goals, 16 assists, and 31 points in 74 games played. This puts him on pace for 17 goals, 18 assists, and 35 points. Oshie, meanwhile, has 23 goals, 22 assists, and 45 points in 72 games played. Not expected to play tonightversus the New Jersey Devils (illness) he would then be on pace for 26 goals, 25 assists, and 51 points.
Troy Brouwer was one of the Capitals’ hardest-working players and an even better person. After all the hard work and dedication he gave, the fans of the red, white, and blue will likely welcome him back with open arms!
Thank You Troy!
By Michael Fleetwood