The Washington Capitals will enter the new NHL season with the usual high octane stars Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom all taking center stage. However, let’s give a shout out to Troy Brouwer. He’s an important—and often underrated—piece of the Washington club.
The Caps’ No. 20 has been a pillar of reliability and consistency on the right wing since joining the club from the Chicago Blackhawks—who he helped win the Stanley Cup.
Brouwer, 28, has played in all but one of the team’s regular season games since arriving in D.C. in 2011. Over those 129 games, he’s tallied 37 goals and 29 assists. More importantly, he breathes, sweats and bleeds team spirit. He’s the kind of guy who expects his teammates to exude that same spirit, and he’s often outspoken on the subject.
Case in point, Brouwer laid into former teammate Alexander Semin who left for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012.
“Some nights you didn’t even know if he [Semin] was gonna come to the rink,” Brouwer told the Washington Post in February. “It’s tough to play alongside guys like those because you don’t know what you’re gonna get out of them.”
Some might see such comments as obnoxious, but I see them as a solid statement from a player who always gives 100 percent and expects the same from his colleagues.
Last season was Brouwer’s best as a Capital with 19 goals. March was his best month and his play was instrumental in sparking the Caps’ turnaround that led to the postseason, along with a reinvented Ovechkin.
Had the last campaign featured the usual 82 games, Brouwer would have easily hit the 30-goal mark. That’s the kind of number he’ll be looking to reach and exceed in 2013-14. He’ll get there if he stays healthy and will finally get the recognition he richly deserves.
G.J. Cosker is a Washington Capitals writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.