- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Even in a weak draft, George McPhee knew he was parting with a significant sum in the amount of a first-round pick for Troy Brouwer late last month. The 25-year-old forward was a restricted free agent, so all the Capitals were technically getting were his rights.

On Wednesday, they made sure Brouwer would be in Washington next season by signing him to a two-year deal worth $2.35 million a season.

“Obviously the raise is very enticing and good for me and my family,” Brouwer told The Washington Times in a phone interview. “Two years gives me some nice security. I didn’t wanna have to just sign a one-year contract and just be looked at as a recycled player.”

Brouwer had 17 goals and 19 assists this past season with the Blackhawks. In 2009-10 — the year Chicago won the Stanley Cup — he had 22 goals and 18 assists.

“At the end of the day I think it’s a fair result,” his agent Craig Oster told The Washington Times. “It secures Troy’s rights for two years in Washington and gives them a player we think is capable of producing even more than he had in the past.”

In a more wide-open system, Oster said, Brouwer should be able to beat those numbers.

“Also, we feel Troy adds a bit of a unique element in Washington with his big body and physical presence,” Oster said.

McPhee was not made available for comment but glowed about Brouwer at the draft.

“He sounds like the kind of leader that we’re looking for,” the Caps’ GM said. “He’s got some real valuable experience in the last couple of years and to win the Cup does a lot for a player. It’ll be nice to have him in our room and on the ice at that age.”

There was never really a concern about getting a deal done, as Oster said he and Caps assistant GM Don Fishman had a similar idea of what Brouwer was worth. The two sides talked at the draft and then after the busy weekend of free agency concluded, agreeing to a deal just before Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline for Brouwer to file for salary arbitration.

“We felt that it was a reasonable contract given all the comparables. When you begin preparing for salary arbitration, it becomes a statistical analysis,” Oster said. “We didn’t have a lot of disagreement about who the comparable are. It led to a range of settlement pretty quick.”

And ultimately a done deal. Now the question becomes what the Caps do to sign final restricted free agent Karl Alzner. Assuming Tom Poti is placed on long-term injured reserve, Washington has $1.7 million left to spend.

Alzner’s agent, J.P. Barry, told The Times last week there was still “a gap to close” in negotiations.

NHL teams are allowed to go over the $64.3 million salary cap by 10 percent in the off-season, but all must be compliant by the start of the season.

• Stephen Whyno can be reached at swhyno@washingtontimes.com.

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