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Troy Brouwer has only been a member of the Washington Capitals for three days, having been acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the Caps' 26th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. But that has not stopped Brouwer from wanting to step up and use his experience to lead Washington.
"There's no boundary on leadership age," the 25-year-old Brouwer said. "I want to come in and help out with all of the experience that I've had. You've got to get into the room first and get the feel of the room before you can start saying whether or not you're going to be vocal. Every team needs guys that are going to speak up and make sure that everyone knows what their roles are and what they should be doing."
Brouwer is just one year removed from winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks and he admitted that his move to Washington surprised him.
"I had heard some rumors coming up to when it happened and a little bit before the draft," Brouwer said. "I hadn't had too much conversation with Chicago as far as a new contract or extending my contract. It was a little bit of a surprise. But to go to Washington, it was a team that I hadn't heard that was interested. I'm real excited and I'm glad it was able to work out with Washington."
Despite coming to the Caps, Brouwer is still set to become a restricted free agent Friday. His two-year, $2.05 million contract expired at the end of the season, but Brouwer is positive that he will sign with the Caps.
"From what I've been told and who I've talked to so far, they are interested in signing me," Brouwer said. "Otherwise, they wouldn't be trading a first round pick for me. For me, Washington has got a great team, a lot of potential right now, but they just need a little help getting over that playoff bump. Hopefully, I can help and do what I can. I have no doubts in my mind right now that we will be able to work out a deal. Quickly, I think."
What makes Brouwer so unique is that he can play on all four forward lines. During his time in Chicago, he spent time on the top line with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Brouwer said that while he is more comfortable playing on the left side, he will play wherever he is needed.
Brouwer has only played two career games against the Caps, but is familiar with their brand of hockey, having seen many highlights and video clips.
"They are a very skilled team," Brouwer said. "They are a very exciting team to watch. The crowd loves them. They always seem to have real good crowds here. They got a lot of good players and I think their only weakness is getting over that hump in the playoffs."
Perhaps most importantly, Brouwer knows what it's like to feel the highest highs and lowest lows in the postseason. Two years ago, Brouwer won the Stanley Cup, but last season, he and his teammates battled back from a 3-0 deficit against the Vancouver Canucks before falling in seven games. That bitter disappointment is something that the Caps can relate to, but Brouwer knows that teams can't dwell on the negatives.
"You have to learn that it's a series," Brouwer said. "You've got to make sure that you shake it off, take the positives from the last game and move on. You can't point fingers. You want to come together in the playoffs."
Boyd is listed at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds and played for the US U-18 squad. He will attend the University of Minnesota this fall.
Haar, listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, is also headed to college this fall and will play for Northeastern University, The Huntington Beach, California native had seven goals and 16 assists in 51 games for Fargo of the USHL.
At the end of the draft, the Caps ended up with four prospects and forward Troy Brouwer, who came to Washington Friday in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. Majority owner Ted Leonsis has chimed in about Brouwer on his personal blog:
He will slide right into our line up next season so we add a player immediately. We don’t have to wait to get productivity.
With their first two picks of the 2011 NHL Draft, the Washington Capitals selected Norwegian goaltender Steffen Soberg with the 117th pick and defenseman Patrick Koudys of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with the 147th pick.
Soberg is listed at 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds and is only 17 years old. Soberg plays for Mangerlud Star Ishockey of GET-ligaen in Norway, but has mediocre numbers, sporting a 4.17 GAA and .884 SV% last season. Via Ben Raby, Soberg would be the first Norwegian goalie to ever play in a NHL game if he makes it that far. Soberg's selections marks the third consecutive draft that the Caps have selected a goalie in the fourth round; last year, Washington selected Philipp Grubauer and Braden Holtby the year before.
Koudys, listed at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, is 18 years old and was one of the youngest players in the NCAA last year. In 32 games with RPI, Koudys had one goal and two assists.
"I'm very excited to join the Washington Capitals organization," Brouwer said. "They are consistently one of the top teams in the NHL and I look forward to helping them reach the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup."
Brouwer had 17 goals and 19 assists in 79 games for the Blackhawks last season and was a member of Chicago's 2009-10 Stanley Cup-winning team.He ranked fifth in the NHL last season with 262 hits and finished third on the Blackhawks with five game-winning goals. In 238 career NHL games with Chicago, Brouwer recorded 103 points (49 goals, 54 assists).
He will become a restricted free agent July 1 and is coming off a two-year, $2.05 million contract. The Caps now have nine players that can be considered "regulars" to negotiate with next Friday, July 1, when free agency begins.
More information will be posted as it is made available.
Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee is the consummate poker player; he rarely shows his hand when it comes to trades and always keeps his poker face intact. McPhee's reserved nature was on display yet again when he sat down with Mike Vogel to discuss the 2011 NHL Draft, which begins Friday at 7 p.m.
McPhee has been open with his feelings that he is not particularly enthused about this year's draft class. And while talking with Vogel, McPhee was not revealing much of anything:
"When we get to our pick, we'll take whoever the best player is whether it's a forward or a defenseman or a goalie."
But who will that pick be? We won't know until late Friday, but extrapolating history might be a way to narrow things down.
The Caps have made 47 total first round draft picks in franchise history and 18 have been defensemen, most among any position. Defensemen outnumber centers (14), left wings (9), right wings (4) and goaltenders (2).
While it may seem that most of the Caps' first round draft picks have come from Europe (especially Russia), that is not true. Sixteen of Washington's first round picks have come from the Western Hockey League, which beats out the Ontario Hockey League (13) and Europe/Russia (10).
If history holds. look for the Caps to take a WHL defenseman. Duncan Siemens, anybody?
The Washington Capitals' first pick in the 2011 NHL Draft does not come until the end of the first round at No. 26, but over the course of franchise history, the Caps have had success with late first-round picks. In fact, in the past nine drafts, Washington has had 26 picks between Nos. 12 and 60 overall and 10 of those are now NHL regulars, nine of them with the Caps. Below is a sample of current Caps that fall under that category.
All of these players have become integral parts of the Caps' core. Last year, the Caps selected Evgeny Kuznetsov with the 26th overall pick, but he has elected to say in Russia for one more season before coming to the Caps. Regardless, the Caps have built their current team from within, which has included solid drafting for years. This weekend, the Caps will try to repeat it.
The NHL's 2010-11 season ended last week with the Boston Bruins defeating the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup, but now all 30 teams are back into the mix starting with the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft Friday. The general consensus is that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson and Jonathan Huberdeau will be the top three selections, but the Washington Capitals will not need to worry about them, considering that they will select 26th overall out of 30 picks.
The Caps have only five picks in this year's draft for the second consecutive year, which is tied for a franchise-low. Washington will also get its first pick at No. 26 for the second straight draft; the Caps selected Evgeny Kuznetsov with that pick.
The reason why the Caps ended up with only five picks is because they traded away two of them at the last two trade deadlines. In 2009-10, the Caps traded Brian Pothier, Oskar Osala and their pick in Saturday's second round for Joe Corvo. Last season, Dennis Wideman came to the Caps in exchange for prospect Jake Hauswirth and a 2011 third-round pick.