In June 2011, when the Washington Capitals sent their first-round draft pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for a physical winger with championship experience, they believed Troy Brouwer’s blend of grit and leadership would fit in well both on and off the ice in Washington. A little more than a year later, it’s clear that both sides believe it did.
Brouwer, 27, signeda three-year, $11 million contract extension on Wednesday that keeps him in the Capitals’ plans through the 2015-16 season.
The Vancouver native, who has one year remaining on his existing contract and is slated to earn $2.35 million in 2012-13, said the decision to stay in Washington was an easy one for him and his family.
“I really like where the team is headed right now. I thought we made a lot of good progress last year with our season,” Brouwer said during a conference call. “Plus also the stability for my family. I still have one more year left on my existing contract, and then adding three more years on top of that, it ensures that me and my family will be set. We like living in D.C. as well.”
Brouwer’s contract extension was announced less than four days before the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. The possibility of a lockout and the uncertainty about what limitations will be placed on contracts in a new agreement prompted a flurry of signings around the league in recent days.
While Brouwer admitted the CBA deadline played a role in coming to terms on an extension, so did another one. Brouwer and his wife, Carmen, are expecting their first child in October, and he wanted any new agreement taken care of before then.
“We had kind of had talks all throughout the summer, wanted to see if something could get done before the season started — whether or not there was going to be a delay in the season,” Brouwer said. “So I think on both sides we both really wanted to get something finished here. Having a baby in a couple weeks here — so I also wanted to get it done before the baby came so I could focus on that.”
Brouwer will earn $3.6 million during the 2013-14 season, $3.65 million in 2014-15 and $3.75 million in 2015-16, figures that likely will make the deal a prudent move for the Capitals regardless of how the new CBA pans out.
During the 2011-12 season, Brouwer recorded 18 goals and 15 assists while spending time on the top two lines, the top power-play unit and, later in the year under Dale Hunter, on a shutdown line.
“Troy is a physical and versatile power forward who can play both wings and who has averaged close to 20 goals in the past three seasons,” General Manager George McPhee said in a news release. “He is a Stanley Cup winner and a great leader. We are thrilled that he will continue his career in Washington for many years to come.”
Brouwer’s presence was also particularly notable as an experienced voice in the dressing room and he also occasionally served as an alternate captain. Of the players on the Capitals’ projected 2012-13 roster, Brouwer is the only one to have won the Stanley Cup.
“We have a rather young team; a lot of guys have won at pretty much every level they’ve been at,” Brouwer said. “A lot of the guys know how to win, but sometimes it’s just [a matter of] taking those emotions and taking that preparation and channeling it into a game, very important games.”