Even though he wasn’t surprised to be dealt by the Chicago Blackhawks, Troy Brouwer said it required a bit of an adjustment to process that he had been traded for the first time in his hockey career and was be bound for Washington.
“It didn’t necessarily catch me off guard, which makes it easier, but you never know if these things will happen and if it does, where you could be going. That it did and that it’s to Washington makes me pretty excited,” Brouwer said Saturday. “I’m real happy to go to a winning team next year that I know will be trying to bring a Stanley Cup there.”
Brouwer, 25, is set to become a restricted free agent on July 1 but he’s not concerned about being able to work out a deal with the Capitals. “I’m assuming that they have every intent of signing me quickly,” he said. “I’m not worried about that.”
He explained that his recovery from surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder this offseason is proceeding as planned and that he plans to be ready for training camp. General Manager George McPhee said the Capitals’ team physician, Ben Shaffer, evaluated Brouwer before the trade was made and that there are no concerns about the winger’s health on their end.
“If you’re a competitive guy you’re going to need some repairs at the end of the season,” McPhee said.
Even though he needed to repair the shoulder, Brouwer isn’t about to change his tough style and willingness to finish his checks when he has the opportunity.
“I love to hit,” Brouwer said when asked to describe the way he likes to play. “I won’t go out of my way to make a hit, but I really like to hit when I can. I can be a pretty good goal scorer when given the opportunity to be, I like to help out on the PK and I think I can bring some diversity and range to a lineup.”
Brouwer knows Jeff Schultz and Eric Fehr, which should help ease his transition to the Capitals. Last year, Brouwer and his wife went to dinner a few times with Schultz and Fehr (and their respective significant others) while vacationing at the same resort. Brouwer also played against Schultz, Fehr and Mike Green in the Western Hockey League.
What Brouwer is most eager to continue as part of the Capitals, though, is a quest to win the Stanley Cup multiple times after capturing it for the first time in 2010 with the Blackhawks. Enduring that season, Brouwer said, helped teach him what is required to win a championship and also allowed him to observe how important it is to have players who have won titles previously.
“I think having those guys that have won is soothing for a team,” Brouwer said. “In Chicago we had two guys, John Madden and Andrew Ladd, that had won the Stanley Cup. You get into a tight game and they just bring the insight into what it takes to get through it, they let you know that you can.
“They brought their rings out one game when [the Blackhawks] were in a tight spot and reminded us what we were working for,” Brouwer continued. “Bringing those guys in, that have won, you’re choosing to trust in what they’ve done before and as a player you trust your teammates in those moments and that’s what you need.”
After the conclusion of the NHL Entry Draft, a weekend where the Capitals’ biggest move was acquiring Brouwer, McPhee said he was already encouraged about the type of leader the British Columbia native could be in Washington.
“I talked to him last night. He was really excited and sounds like a great kid,” McPhee said. “It’s amazing, what you feel about somebody after a three minute conversation but he seems like kind of leader that we’re looking for. He’s got some real valuable experience in the last couple of years, to actually win the Cup does a lot for a player. It will be nice to have him in our room and on the ice at that age.”