The Washington Times - July 6, 2011, 04:06PM

As a restricted free agent with the Blackhawks, Troy Brouwer admitted hearing some trade talk because he hadn’t had any conversations with Chicago about a new deal.

But after the Capitals dealt for him, the 25-year-old forward wasn’t at all worried.

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“When a team gives up something as pristine as a first round pick, you have a pretty good idea that they’re gonna keep you around and get a deal done quickly,” he told The Washington Times in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.

They got it done, all right, signing Brouwer to a two-year deal worth $4.7 million. Brouwer said he’s excited to officially know he’ll be with the Caps next year and doesn’t want to be here for the short term.

“I didn’t wanna have to just sign a one-year contract and just be looked at as a recycled player,” he said.

Brouwer made $1.025 million in each of the past two seasons. In 2009-10 he had 22 goals and 18 assists and last year he had 17 goals and 19 assists. This coming season with the Caps he’ll have a cap hit and salary of $2.35 million.

“Obviously the raise is very enticing and good for me and my family,” Brouwer said.

The Caps are hoping Brouwer will bring leadership and some toughness. He was ranked among the NHL’s leaders in hits the past season.

That level of physical play necessitated right shoulder surgery in May, but Brouwer said recovery is coming along well and that he should be good to go just before training camp.

“My return date is mid-September,” he said. “I haven’t had any setbacks. If anything I’m moving quicker than expected.”

Brouwer will be in town over the weekend to meet everyone with the Caps, look for a place to live and check out development camp. He’s familiar with Kettler Capitals Iceplex because the Blackhawks practiced there last March.

And he’s familiar with the Caps’ recent moves – “I have been paying attention because it’s my hockey team now,” he said. Brouwer specifically called signing Tomas Vokoun a “steal” at $1.5 million for a year and approves of the addition of more grit.

“I like the direction that they’re going,” he said.