Capitals Acquire Brouwer from Chicago for First-Round Pick

Posted by Dave Nichols | Saturday, June 25, 2011 | , , , | 0 comments »

In the days leading up to the NHL's entry draft, Washington Capitals GM George McPhee indicated on several occasions he didn't think much of this draft class.  Friday night, his actions confirmed that his words were not meant as subterfuge, as he traded the Caps first round pick, No. 26 overall, to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for 25-year old right wing Troy Brouwer.

Brouwer is a Restricted Free Agent and arbitration eligible, so the Caps' first priority is to get the player signed.

From the team:
Brouwer, 25, recorded 17 goals and a career-high 19 assists for 36 points in 79 regular-season games in 2010-11. He led the Blackhawks and ranked fifth in the NHL with 262 hits and finished third on the team with five game-winning goals. Brouwer appeared in all seven playoff games with Chicago, collecting 11 penalty minutes and finishing with a plus-two rating.

The 6’3", 215-pound forward helped lead the Blackhawks to win the 2010 Stanley Cup while tallying eight points (four goals, four assists) in 19 playoff contests.

During the 2009-10 campaign, Brouwer registered a career-high 22 goals and 40 points in 69 games with the Blackhawks. In 238 career NHL games with Chicago, Brouwer has recorded 103 points (49 goals, 54 assists).
Brouwer is a physical, tough player, evidenced by his ranking on the NHL Hits leaderboard, and is willing to fight if the situation calls for it, but he can also play with the puck, with 39 goals combined the last two seasons.

The move is somewhat of a departure from the draft and develop mold that Capitals have taken the last several seasons.  But McPhee had already departed with the Caps second and third round picks in trades last season, so there must have been somewhat of an "all-in" mentality, willing to exchange the first round pick for an already developed player.

If McPhee and his scouts didn't see a top-six forward being available to them with the 26th overall pick, then this move benefits the team by acquiring a player that is already that type, especially with the added toughness Brouwer will bring.  The dividends will be immediate to a team that is already a strong contender, instead of having to wait on another draft pick to develop through the system.

It's a tough decision to essentially pass on a draft class (the Caps first pick wasn't until late in the fourth round), but McPhee knows that his team is built to compete right now, and adding pieces to the parent club this season is more important than adding another prospect to the system.  The Capitals have been very protective of their picks and young players in the recent past.  Now is the time to reap the benefits of that patience and hard work of drafting and developing.

This trade was a "win now" move.  It probably will not be the only one before training camp starts.

With the 26th pick in the NHL Draft tonight, it's kind of a forgone conclusion that the Washington Capitals will select Russian center Alexander Khokhlachev if available.  The skilled Russian had a terrific season for OHL Windsor last year, notching 34 goals (12 PPG) and 76 points with a plus-9 rating and in 19 playoff games he went 9-11-20...as a 17-year old. 

Other names that might be available when the Caps pick:  American defenseman Connor Murphy (18-years old, 6'3", 185), Vladislav Namestnikov (C, London OHL), Jamie Oleksiak (6'7", 244 defenseman with soft hands).
___________________________________________

From my vantage, the Philadelphia Flyers self-destructed yesterday.  Over-compensating for their goaltending deficiencies, they gave a 31-year old good-but-not-great goalie a reported nine-year, $51.5 million contract. 

Then, to make room for said contract, they traded away their two best players, captain Mike Richards and All-Star center Jeff Carter -- in the prime of their careers -- for support wingers and draft picks.  Granted, Philly still has lots of young talent, but for my opinion, they sent too much out the door yesterday.  GM Paul Holmgren just put his neck on the table if Ilya Bryzgalov doesn't turn into the reincarnation of Bernie Parent for the Black and Orange.

The Capitals' job in the Eastern Conference just got easier in the 2011-12 season, in my humble opinion.
___________________________________________

I don't get worked up over the NHL schedule like some folks do.  What interests me more in how the NHL plans to realign next season.  News of possible plans to go to two conferences of two divisions, with the top four in each division having to play each other to get out of the division in the playoffs intrigues me. 

If we end up with an NHL "South" Division, it could look like this:  Washington, New Jersey, Philadelphia, one of the New York teams, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Florida and maybe Columbus or Nashville.

Caps Announce 2011-2012 Regular Season Schedule

Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Thursday, June 23, 2011 | , , | 1 comments »

The Washington Capitals announced their 2011-12 regular season schedule today.  Pre-season schedule was announced earlier in the week.

The Washington Capitals’ 82-game regular-season schedule for 2011-12 begins on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Verizon Center versus the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m., with the first road game of the campaign set for Oct. 13 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center.

The 2011-12 NHL schedule format, like the last three seasons, has the Capitals facing the other teams in the Southeast Division six times each and the remaining Eastern Conference opponents four times each. Washington plays each team in the Western Conference at least once, with two games each against Detroit, Nashville and San Jose. Nine Western Conference teams will visit Verizon Center.

The Capitals will host the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins at Verizon Center on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5 at 12:30 p.m. It will mark the third year in a row that the Capitals will play on Super Bowl Sunday.

Washington has six homestands of at least three games on the schedule, the longest being a five-game stretch at Verizon Center from Feb. 28 - Mar. 8. The Capitals have two stretches of at least three straight road games and a season-high five-game road trip from Mar. 13-22. In addition, the Capitals will have 12 sets of back-to-back games.

Nearly half of the Capitals’ 41 home games at Verizon Center fall on weekends, which includes seven games on Friday, six on Saturday and five on Sunday. The schedule features holiday home games on Columbus Day (Oct. 10 vs. Tampa Bay), the day before and the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 23 vs. Winnipeg; Nov. 25 vs. New York Rangers), Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 5 vs. Boston) and the day before Valentine’s Day (Feb. 13 vs. San Jose).

All but eight of Washington’s home games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m., with five Sunday afternoon games scheduled.

Television broadcast plans will be released at a later date. All Capitals games can be heard on Caps Radio 1500 and 820 AM as well as WashingtonCaps.com.

Let's Go Caps!

Photo © Cheryl Nichols. All Rights Reserved.