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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Season In Review 2013-2014: Troy Brouwer

The Caps are so far winning the 2011 trade that brought Troy Brouwer to DC in exchange for Washington's 2011 first round pick (26th overall).  The Blackhawks selected Phillip Danault, who has yet to make it on the Blackhawks.  But who cares about him.

Brouwer is exactly the type of player the Washington Capitals need.  He's got good size and good hands, throws his weight around a lot, and is not afraid to speak his mind when he feels the need to.  Brouwer played primarily on the 2nd line, and even though I feel like he would be a perfect match with Backstrom and Ovechkin, he does a solid job on his own.  Well, not really on his own, but you know what I mean.  Let's take a look at his stats.  All stats are obtained from extra skater, in all game situations.

Season  GP  G  A  A1  A2  P1  TOI/60   S  MS  BS  Pen PenD HitF HitA
2013  47 19 14  11    3  30    18.3 111   43  30   10    6 108 56
2013-2014  82 25 18   7   11  32    18.4 161   89  65   32   25 210 107

Right off the bat, you can see that Brouwer wasn't nearly as effective this season as last season.  In the shortened 2013 season, Brouwer was easily on pace to get over 30 goals for the first time in his career.  That being said, the 25 goals he had this season is his highest ever, and it is certainly excellent.  But, look at the amount of shots Brouwer took this year compared to last year.  He was clearly firing the
puck far more often last season.  In fact, he was averaging nearly a shot more per 60 minutes of play last season.  Brouwer was also a strong power play performer, averaging 3.3 minutes per game and adding 12 power play goals.  Much like every Capital, Brouwer was far more productive on the power play, and seemed to disappear at even strength.  Brouwer did play nearly half a minute more on the penalty kill this season, and any forward who is effective on the penalty kill and power play is a player you should have on your team.  He's also continuing the trend of face offs, even though he is a right winger.  Brouwer took over 400 face offs this season, and won 51.1 percent of them, which is a 3 percent increase from last season.  I stressed with Jay Beagle's review the importance of face off wins, so if Brouwer can continue that upward trend, it just makes him that much better.  Brouwer's most impressive stat is the fact that he threw 210 checks while only taking 107.  Those 210 hits led his team. Let's take a look at his Corsi, Fenwick and PDO numbers in close game 5 on 5 situations.

Season  CF  CA   CF% CF% Rel   FF   FA  FF% FF% Rel  PDO
2013  288  328  46.8%   -1.6%  216  239  47.5%    -0.1%   99.1
2013-2014 557  625  47.1%   -0.7%  417  475 46.7%    -1.0% 100.5

His possession numbers aren't very good.  I mean, no one on the Caps has very good possession numbers, but you would think that Brouwer would be among the top, especially considering he plays on the second line.  His Corsi and Fenwick numbers this year are actually quite confusing.  Brouwer had 3.2 percent more offensive zone starts this year than last season, and his quality of competition went down both on opposing defense and opposing forwards.  Brouwer played the most this year with Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson and Mikhail Grabovski, as well as John Carlson and Karl Alzner.  It actually really doesn't make that much sense.

Even though it was a career year point wise, I think if you'd ask Brouwer, he would believe he could have done even better.  That's no knock on Brouwer, as he's consistently working his tail off, but considering what Brouwer accomplished last season, there were higher expectations from him this season.  Brouwer will be 29 at the start of next season, and he's signed through the end of the 2015-2016 season.  There are a lot of rumors that Brouwer could be a potential piece in a trade, but considering the time he puts on both the power play and penalty kill, the amount he hits, and his realistic potential at scoring 30 goals, I wouldn't think that that would be the right move.  The Capitals lack secondary scoring, and if Brouwer can turn into that power forward that can put the puck in the net, then he becomes extremely dangerous.  The Capitals have a bunch of younger guys that are clear-cut playmakers (Evgeny Kuznetsov, if Andre Burakovsky is able to crack the opening roster, Tom Wilson potentially).  Maybe Brouwer finds himself next season in a more reserved third line role.  But, considering his physicality and his offensive ability, maybe that could be a good spot for him.

Troy Brouwer Grade:  B

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