Showing posts with label BROUWER. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BROUWER. Show all posts

Making Room for Alzner

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, July 06, 2011 | , , , | 3 comments »

The Washington Capitals today announced they signed winger Troy Brouwer to a two-year deal, reported to be worth $2.35 million per year.  That's certainly a reasonable contract for a guy that's scored 39 goals the last two years combined, not to mention the physical aspect he brings to the game.

That leaves the Caps with one priority: Signing Karl Alzner.

With the Brouwer signing the Caps are over the salary cap, but the team can carry 10 percent over the cap throughout the summer.  It gives them some time to sign Alzner, then deal to make room.. But where are those deals going to come from?

According to (and if you don't have it bookmarked, why not?), the Caps are $1.8 million over with 23 players signed for next season.  They currently have the highest payroll in the NHL.  Where do the Caps get relief?

Let's take a look at some of the more obvious candidates:

Tom Poti ($2.875 million):  The veteran defenseman played in just 21 games last season due to a variety of injuries, worst of all his brittle groin.  If the Caps put Poti on the Long Term Injury List, they could save his cap number this season.

Eric Fehr ($2.2 million):  Like Poti, Fehr spent a lot of last season injured, and he's had multiple surgeries on his shoulder.  Reports say he probably will not be ready to play by the start of camp.  But he's still young, and a 20-goal scorer for this team with the limited minutes he gets.  Healthy, and on a team that could give him extensive power play time, he could be a real asset for someone.

Jeff Schultz ($2.75 million): The Caps currently have seven defensemen under contract before Alzner signs.  At the best, it now looks like Schultz will only be the sixth or seventh (or eighth) best defenseman on the team.  Not sure if that warrants the cap hit he carries. But he's big and durable, someone would play him 20 minutes a night.

Jason Chimera ($1.875 million):  Chimera brings a lot of speed and energy, and a fourth line of Chimera-Halpern-Hendricks is awfully enticing.  But his hands of stone really limits him offensive effectiveness for a player making almost $2 million per.

D.J. King ($637,500):  Not a big hit, but still... He was a forgotten player down the stretch, and only managed to dress 16 times the whole season.  This good soldier just doesn't fit into the coach's system or philosophy.  With Hendricks and Brouwer, the Caps have all the pugilists they would need on any given night.  The era of heavyweights is just about finished.

Alexander Semin ($6.7 million): Saved the best and biggest cap hit for last.  What more need be written about The Enigma?  If you could bring back Good Sasha at half the price and let Bad Sasha go, it would be one thing.  The problem with trading him? Where to, and would he report?  A player of his obvious talent would be a real boost to a team's scoring, but he would have to go to a team looking at the cap floor, and those teams generally aren't very attractive to play for, especially for a player that at times has had problems with motivation.  The other problem trading Semin?  None of these problems are a well-kept secret.  For a non-All-Star, he carries more baggage than anyone else in the league.

(ed. 12:32 pm: I was called out for not including Mike Green on the list, which was fair.)

Mike Green ($5.25 million): I don't think the Caps will entertain offers for Mike Green, but it would be understandable if they did.  He's the most gifted offensive defenseman in the game, and a work in progress on the back end.  He now also carries the stigma of a concussion victim, on top of various other elements that have dramatically affected his performance in the playoffs the last two years, including a bum shoulder. 

Busy Day at Kettler

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, July 01, 2011 | , , , , , , , | 0 comments »


The news rolled in quicker than most people could keep up with.

Jeff Halpern returned to the team he grew up with and Boyd Gordon walked.  Then, in a shock to everyone's system, Semyon Varlamov was traded away.  There was a brief lull.  Then, all hell broke loose. 

Roman Hamrlik.  Joel Ward.  A couple of veteran scorers for Hershey.  And at the end of it all, GM George McPhee reassured Washington Capitals fans he had enough money to sign RFAs Karl Alzner and Troy Brouwer, acquired just a few days ago.

Head spinning yet?

Yes, the activity at Caps headquarters on this, the first day of the NHL free agency period, was fast and frenzied.  At the end of the day the Caps got tougher and stronger, if not dangerously close to the NHL's salary cap.

McPhee told the media the team was done in his press conference after the signings were announced and reiterated that he still had the room to get deals for Alzner and Brouwer completed.  According to, a widely respected website that tracks salary numbers for all NHL teams, the Caps have just over $2 million space remaining with the players they currently have under contract.  Until proven otherwise, we'll defer to McPhee that Alzner and Brouwer will indeed be in red at the start of play this season.

The players acquired today all have one thing in common: toughness.  Halpern isn't known for his hitting, but he's a faceoff and penalty kill specialist that will assume Gordon's spot on the fourth line.  Hamrlik, 37, is an 18-year NHL veteran known for his big left-handed shot.  Ward, a 30-year old right winger, led Nashville forwards in blocked shots last year and was their playoff darling, scoring seven goals and six assists in 12 games. He had 29 points in the regular season.

The other thing all three players add, obviously, is experience.  All are established, veteran players and combined with Brouwer -- acquired last week for the Caps first round pick in the 2011 entry draft -- further reinforces the idea that McPhee has adopted a "win-now" philosophy.  The other thing it signals, in no uncertain terms, is that he felt the team as constructed last season was the reason they did not advance further in the playoffs, and not any imagined deficiency in his coaching staff.

The net for Varlamov was a coup: Colorado's first round pick next season and a second round pick in either the 2012 or 2013 draft.  After it became evident in the past week that the player had no designs of returning to Washington, and in fact demanding that he be implanted as starter as a condition of said return or he would take his talents to the KHL, McPhee made quite a haul for a player that he was going to lose anyway.

If indeed McPhee is "done" tinkering this off-season, he got quite a bit accomplished in one day.  Ultimately, the team got older and more experienced without sacrificing long-term assets, and in fact acquired a potential lottery pick in next year's draft to boot.  Quite a day.

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.