General Manager George McPhee admitted it was a “little risky” to complete the trade for Troy Brouwer’s rights and send the 26th overall pick to Chicago before the NHL Entry Draft even began in St. Paul, Minn. Washington’s wager proved to be correct, though, and it snagged a player McPhee said he would have targeted regardless of a draft’s depth.
“Sort of had to sweat through the next two hours hoping that a player we were talking about doesn’t slide down but it didn’t happen,” said McPhee, who added that the Capitals began discussing Brouwer earlier in the week with Chicago. “Right around 20, 21 all the guys we were interested in were gone so it played out beautifully for us, actually.”
Brouwer, 25, spent the last three full seasons developing into a hard-hitting forward who could play on all four lines and contribute offensively. He finished fifth in the league in hits for the 2010-11 regular season with 262, but was injured when he fell awkwardly late in the regular season that forced him to have offseason surgery on his right shoulder.
“He’s a power forward who can get us 20 goals a year and play physical. He just won a Stanley Cup a year ago and is supposed to be a real good leader. We’re delighted to be able to add that to our lineup.”
Brouwer will be a restricted free agent on July 1, but the Capitals now hold his negotiating rights for two years and McPhee isn’t concerned about getting a new deal done. Brouwer’s most recent contract carried a salary cap hit of $1,025,000 million each of the past two seasons.
What type of ripple effect the addition of Brouwer has on the rest of the Capitals’ free agents remains to be seen. As he consistently does, McPhee declined to comment on the status of the team’s free agents saying: “I don’t think this is the time to talk about our free agents.”
With three wingers set to become unrestricted free agents, including Brooks Laich and Matt Bradley, Brouwer could possibly fill either of those roles should either, or both, of them not return to Washington.
Despite several trades that were completed during the latter part of the first round and are still developing after it concluded Friday night, McPhee said he isn’t sure how much more movement there will be on the second day.
“For us, I don’t know,” McPhee said when asked about additional moves. “I would expect that things will be busy around the first week of July for trades [around the league], we may see more then than [Saturday].
“It’s not easy to make a trade now because you create a hole and I think you see people trying to fill holes and then make trades after that,” he continued when asked if there would be more trades because of what’s considered to be a shallow free agent pool. “If they fill a hole and have some depth they might make a trade if they didn’t get what they needed filled then they might make a trade.”